Nestle hits speed bump, weighs on KLCI

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed lower on Wednesday after Nestle, which has rallied in recent weeks to record highs, hit a speed bump amid a weaker broader market.

At 5pm, the KLCI was down 6.97 points or 0.37% to 1,857.06. Turnoverwas 2.32 billion shares valued at RM2.06bil. 

Decliners beat advancers two to one. There were 635 losers and 332 gainers while 390 counters unchanged.

Bursa Malaysia was not the only market in the red as almost of the key Asian bourses closed lower. 

Hong Kong stocks fell on Wednesday, breaking a four-day rising streak, as fears of a Sino-US trade war outweighed optimism from China's solid economic data, Reuteres reported.

The ringgit weakened against several major currencies. It fell 0.22% against the US dollar to 3.9060 and lost 0.54% to the pound sterling at 5.4471 and was down 0.36% to the euro at 4.8302 and lost 0.31% to the Singapore dollar at 2.9785.

Nestle fell RM16.40 – the biggest one-day loss – to RM141 and erased 6.91 points from the KLCI. Dutch Lady lost RM1.14 to RM70, Ajinomoto 40 sen lower at RM23.90 but BAT rose 52 sen to RM27.50. Brahims gained 13.5 sen to 38 sen.

UMW fell 59 sen to RM5.90 after announcing its proposed RM1.1bil rights issue to finance its takeover.

US light crude oil rose 31 cents to US$61.02 and Brent added 34 cents to to US$64.98 as strong Chinese factory activity encouraged investor inflows into industrial commodities such as copper, although fast-growing US crude output tempered price gains, Reuters reported. 

Hengyuan lost 51 sen to RM8.53 and Petron fell 33 sen to RM23.90. Petronas Chemicals fell five sen to RM8.10, Petronas Gas was unchanged at RM17.90 while Petronas Dagangan edged up two sen to RM24.74.

Telcos came under some selling pressure, Maxis fell 14 sen to RM5.75 and wiping out nearly two points, Axiata shed five sen to RM5.40, Digi four sen to RM4.71 and Telekom one sen lower at RM5.57.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM27 to RM2,446 per tonne, which was the the third day of gains. Bloomberg reported the market was reacting to Tuesday's strong performance in the Chicago soybean oil markets and well as expectations that palm oil exports may recover in coming weeks.

Sime Plantations fell four sen to RM5.56, Sime Darby unchanged at RM2.65 and Sime Property unchanged at RM1.41. 

KL Kepong lost 22 sen to RM25.20, IOI Corp shed one sen to RM4.86 but PPB Group climbed 10 sen to RM18.42.

Among the banks, AmBank fell 11 sen to RM4.08, CIMB one sen lower at RM7.24, Maybank and Public Bank were flat at RM10.44 and RM23 while RHB Bank added four sen to RMRM5.39. Hong Leong Bank was the top gainer among the KLCI stock, up 28 sen to RM19.30 and adding over one point to the index.

As for Genting, it rose 13 sen to RM9.05 and Genting Malaysia four sen higher at RM5.27 while Tenaga edged up two sen to RM15.64. 

Bucking the overall sentiment were glove maker Hartalega, up 44 sen to RM11.80, Hoover jumped 28 sen to 82 sen while MPI added 23 sen to RM9.03.

Low-cost carrier AirAsia rebounded 16 sen to RM4.16.