Banks weigh as KLCI ends nearly flat

KUALA LUMPUR: Banks, MISC and Petronas Dagangan weighed on the blue chips on Wednesday as trading volume thinned ahead of the long weekend while the broader market was mixed.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI had closed down 0.59 of a point or 0.03% to 1,763.57. Turnover was 2.12 billion shares valued at RM2.02bil. There were 397 gainers, 469 losers and 396 counters unchanged.

Among the key Asian markets, investors braced for a Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day, Reuters reported. In Hong Kong, stocks ended lower as a slump in shares of ZTE Corp unnerved market participants.

The ringgit weakened against the US dollar, down 0.14% to 3.9945. However, it rose 0.41% versus the pound sterling to 5.3283, gained 0.28% to the euro to 4.6945 and edged up 0.07% to the Singapore dollar to 2.9912.

Earlier, Moody's Investors Service, while maintaining its estimate of Malaysia's direct government debt at 50.8% of GDP in 2017, said:

“However, the new administration's treatment of large infrastructure projects that may be placed under review but have benefited from  government-guaranteed loans in the past, and outstanding debt from state  fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB, unrated), will play an important role in determining risks that contingent liabilities pose to the credit profile,” it said.

Public Bank fell 22 sen to RM24.08 and wiped out 1.52 points, AmBank nine sen to RM3.81, CIMB and RHB Bank fell five sen each to RM6.08 and RM5.71 and Hong Leong Bank four sen lower to RM19.02. Maybank was unchanged at RM9.60.

MISC fell 24 sen to RM5.86 and erased 1.91 points from the KLCI.

Crude palm oil prices (CPO) for third month delivery fell RM10 to RM2,310 per tonne. IOI Corp was down five sen to RM4.60 but KL Kepong and PPB Group rose two sen each to RM24.94 and RM19.88.

Sime Plantation regained some momentum to climb 12 sen to RM5.46, Sime Darby three sen higher at RM2.55 and Sime Property added four sen to RM1.25.

US light crude oil fell 28 cents to US$66.08 and Brent 50 cents lower at US$75.38.

Petronas Dagangan fell 52 sen to RM24.94 and erased 0.92 of a point, Petronas Chemicals added one sen to RM8.34 but Petronas Gas jumped 46 sen to RM18.06 and nudged the KLCI up 1.62 points.

Sapura Energy was the most active with over 100 million shares done, shedding two sen to 64.5 sen.

Chip maker MPI fell 18 sen to RM10.32 while VS Industry lost 17 sen to RM1.63.

Among the consumer stocks, Nestle fell RM1 to RM144.90, BAT 40 sen lower at RM36.70, Carlsberg 22 sen lower at RM19.88 but F&N added 22 sen to RM37.20.

Glove makers fared better as Supermax rose 32 sen to RM3.91 and Top Glove 14 sen to RM11.28.