KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips barely managed to snap the nine straight days of losses on Friday, underpinned by Public Bank, IHH and Digi but the overall mood of investors was still cautious following the heavy foreign selling since the May 9 general elections.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 1.83 points or 0.11% to 1,694.15 while year-to-date, it is down 5.71%. The KLCI has fallen 91 points from 1,785.81 on June 7 and tumbled into a correction territory from the record high of 1,895 on April 19.
Turnover was 2.01 billion shares valued at RM2.23bil. The broader market was firmer with 480 gainers to 350 losers and 417 counters unchanged.
On the external front, Chinese stocks ended higher but remained on the edge of a bear market, as investors weighed concerns over a possible trade war with the US against a domestic regulatory order aimed at preventing a downward spiral of selling, wire reports said. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.49% and Shenzen Composite 1.21% higher.
The ringgit rose 0.4% against the US doillar to 3.9995 on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's comments the fair value of the local unit was 3.8.
However, the ringgit weakened against the pound sterling by 1.09% to 5.3208, fell 0.89% against the euro to 4.660 and slipped 0.15% to the Singapore dollar to 2.9490.
At Bursa Malaysia, Public Bank rose 30 sen to RM22.92 and lifted the KLCI by 2.07 points.
UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research has upgraded Public Bank to Buy with a higher target price of RM25.20 as it upgraded the earnings outlook. The RM25.50 target price was at 2.45 times 2018F price-to-book value, 14.7% returns on equity, post earnings upgrade.
Hong Leong Bank rose 22 sen to RM18.12, RHB Bank 17 sen to RM5.65, Maybank two sen to RM9.19, but CIMB fell two sen to RM5.81. HFG added 28 sen to RM18.18.
IHH Healthcare rose 10 sen to RM6 and nudged the KLCI up 1.47 points, Genting Malaysia flat at RM4.93, Genting Bhd
three sen lower at RM8.54. Tenaga fell 14 sen to RM13.80 and erased 1.41 points.
Oil prices rose more than 1% as OPEC struggled to agree a deal to increase output to compensate for losses in production at a time of rising global demand, Reuters reported.
Brent crude was up 75 cents a barrel at US$73.80 by 0800 GMT. US light crude was 60 cents higher at US$66.14.
Petronas Gas rose 12 sen to RM17.36, Petronas Dagangan added 16 sen to RM24.28 and Petronas Chemicals flat at RM8.40. Dialog added three sen to RM3.14.
Crude palm oil rose RM20 to RM2,271 per tonne. IOI Corp fell rqo sen to RM4.59, KL Kepong 14 sen to RM23.64 and PPB Group 16 sen lower at RM19.36.
Sime Plantation lost seven sen to RM5.28 while Sime Darby and Sime Property shed one sen to RM2.42 and RM1.16.
Digi rose nine sen to RM4.37, Telekom stage a mild recovery after the previous day's seldown, climbing sevcen sen to RM3.21 but Maxis and Axiata fell seven sen each to RM5.50 and RM4.26.
Tenaga Naisonal fell 14 sen to RM13.80 and wiped out 1.41 points.