KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank and Maxis weighed on the FBM KLCI on Wednesday on late selling pressure, mainly from foreign funds, while most key Asian markets were in the red also.
There was no respite for Bursa Malaysia as the fallout from the US-China trade tensions, a sharp fall in the yuan and the worrying scandal-hit 1Malaysia Development's debts saw foreign funds exiting the market. This was the 36th day of foreign selling on the local bourse.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 9.78 points or 0.58% to 1,666,08 and down 7.28% year-to-date. Turnover was 2.01 billion shares valued at RM1.99bil. There were 278 gainers, 558 losers and 410 counters unchanged.
Stock market data showed foreign funds were net sellers at RM256.3mil but the selling was again absorbed by the local institutional buying at RM210.40mil and retail investors net buyers at R45.9mil.
Reuters reported Hong Kong stocks slid to nearly a seven-month low as a sharp fall in the yuan added to worries about China’s economic growth amid escalating US-China trade tensions.
The Hang Seng index fell 1.8% to 28,356.26, while the China Enterprises Index lost 2.2%, to 10,879.17.
China’s yuan weakened beyond a psychologically key 6.6 per dollar level and bets are growing for further downside amid the escalating Sino-US trade row. The currency posted its weakest official local close since Dec 19, 2017.
Meanwhile, Bernama quoted TA Securities Holdings Bhd Research senior vice-President Kaladher Govindan as saying the KLCI could fall to a low of 1,580 should the US impose tariffs on an additional US$200bil worth of Chinese imports.
Maybank fell 32 sen to RM8.68 – the lowest since May 2017 and erased 6.24 points from the KLCI.
Funds had been rotating their selling among Maybank, CIMB and Public Bank in recent weeks.
Public Bank was 20 sen higher at RM23.10 and nudged the KLCI up 1.38 points.CIMB added one sen to RM5.40, Hong Leong Bank eight sen to RM18.20 and RHB Bank nine sen to RM5.45.
Telcos were under pressure for the second day this week. Maxis fell 19 sen to RM5.29 and erased 2.64 points, Digi lost eight sen to RM4.07, Axiata four sen to RM4.05 and Telekom five sen to RM3.01.
Crude palm oi for third month delivery rose RM35 to RM2,312 per tonne. Among the plantations, IOI Corp lost 10 sen to RM4.48,but KL Kepong added six sen to RM14.10, PPB Group added 12 sen to RM19.64.
Sime Plantation, Sime Darby and Sime Property eked out a one sen gain each to RM5.30, RM2.43 and RM1.21 respectively.
US light crude oil rose 58 cents to US$71.11 and Brent was up 31 cents to US$76.62.
Petronas Dagangan rose 22 sen to RM24.64, Petronas Chemical four sen higher at RM8.45 while Petronas Gas was flat at RM17.30.
As for tech and semicon-related stocks, burn-in tester KESM fell 50 sen to RM16.10 while Pentamaster was down 14 sen to RM2.29 but MI Equipment, which was listed on the Main Market last week, rose 15 sen to RM1.82.
Country Heights rallied 14 sen to RM1.41 after it proposed a bonus issue of up to 137.853 million on the basis of one warrant for every two existing shares held.
BAT fell the most on Wednesday, down 90 sen to RM33.54 but Heineken rose 24 sen to RM21.58.
The ringgit fell 0.19% against the US dollar to 4.0300 but firmed up 0.29% to the pound sterling at 5.3169 and gained 0.16% to the euro at 4.6868 and eked out a gain of 0.09% against the Singapore dollar to 2.9520.