KLCI closes slightly lower, shrugs off late selling

KUALA LUMPUR: Fund buying of Petronas Dagangan and Nestle enabled the FBM KLCI to shrug off the late selling pressure on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve raised rates with expectation of another two hikes for the year.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 1.79 points or 0.1% to 1,761.78 – after falling more than 14 points. The market will reopen next Monday after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.

Turnover was 1.62 billion shares valued at RM3.02bil. There were 361 gainers, 372 losers and 372 counters unchanged.

Southeast Asian stock markets traded lower on Thursday as higher interest rates would see funds flowing out of equities.

Thai shares hit six-month lows,after the expected rate hikes, Reuters reported.  Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.54%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.62%, China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.38% and South Korea's Kospi 1.33% down. Singapore's STI lost 0.37%.

The Fed, on Wednesday, raised its benchmark overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point and signalled two additional hikes by the end of this year compared to one previously, based on board members' median forecast. The Fed also took a more hawkish tone regarding the pace of rate hikes for the rest of the year.

However, the ringgit rose 0.18% against the US dollar to 3.9868 and gained 0.24% against the Singapore dollar to 2.9840. It fell 0.2% against the pound sterling toi 5.3388 and lost 0.22% to the euro to 4.6051.

Bitcoin rose US$233 to US$6,495 after slumping in previous days.

At Bursa, Maybank was the most active stock with 64 million shares done, ending flat at RM9.60.

CIMB fell 11 sen to RM5.97 and erased 1.84 points, Public Bank was down four sen to RM24.04, Hong Leong rose two sen to RM19.04 and AmBank one sen higher at RM3.82 while RHB Bank gained 10 sen to RM5.81.

US light crude oil fell three cents to US$66.61 and Brent lost 24 cents to US$76.50. 

Petronas Gas fell 56 sen to RM17.50 and wipining out nearly two points from the KLCI while Petronas Chemical was flat at RM8.34. Petronas Dagangan jumped 88 sen to RM25.82 and added 1.56 points to the index.

Genting Malaysia fell 14 sen to RM5.09 and Genting nine sen lower at RM8.55 while Tenaga gained 10 sen to RM14.50.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM10 to RM2,328 per tonne. PPB Group fell six sen to RM19.82, KL Kepong was unchanged at RM24.94 while IOI Corp gained 10 sen to RM4.70.

Sime Plantation and Sime Darby added 10 sen each to RM2.60 and RM5.51 while Sime Property lost one sen to RM1.24. 

Nestle was the top gainer, up RM3.10 to RM148 and gave the KLCI a 1.3 point lift while  Apollo added 16 sen to RM4.46 but BAT lost RM1.60 to RM35.10 and Ajinomoto 22 sen to RM22.08.

Among the glove makers, Supermax hit a record high adding 19 sen to RM4.10 but Hartalega lost 22 sen to RM5.98.

As for telcos, Digi fell four sen to RM4.48 and Axiata three sen to RM4.77 while Telekom was flat at RM3.85 and Maxis edged up one sen to RM5.78.