KUALA LUMPUR: Local fund buying of Tenaga Nasional and Maybank helped shore up the FBM KLCI on Tuesday though concerns about the fiscal deficit and the US-China trade war curbed investors' risk appetite.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 2.21 points or 0.13% to 1,685.94. Turnover was 1.96 billion shares valued at RM1.59bil. There were 420 gainers, 358 losers and 391 counters unchanged.
Local institutions were net buyers at RM52.4mil and retail investors at just RM500,000. Foreign funds were net sellers at RM52.9mil.
The Budget 2019 proposals will be unveiled on Friday and investors expect new taxes to bolster the government's finances. Concerns about a bigger than expected fiscal deficit is among one of the downside risks.
On the external front, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at its lowest in nearly 18 months on Tuesday after a choppy day for regional markets, as tepid investor sentiment outweighed promises of support for mainland markets by China's securities regulator, Reuters reported.
At Bursa, Tenaga rose 20 sen to RM14.30 and pushed the KLCI up 2.04 points, MISC gained 12 sen to RM6.03 while Genting Malaysia added five sen to RM4.46 but Genting Bhd lost seven sen to RM7.18.
Maybank recovered slightly, edging up seven sen to RM9.34 and added 1.38 points to the KLCI, Hong Leong Bank and CIMB fell two sen each to RM20.66 and RM5.58, RHB Bank three sen to RM5.07 and Public Bank four sen to RM24.54.
As for telcos, Maxis fell nine sen to RM5.15 and wiped out 1.26 points while Axiata shed six sen to RM3.38, Digi one sen lower to RM4.19 but Telekom rose one sen to RM2.16.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM17 to RM2,170 per tonne.
Among the plantations, IOI Corp rose seven sen to RM4.50, KL Kepong eight sen to RM24.94 and PPB Group was flat at RM16.78.
Sime Plantation fell six sen to RM5.12 and Sime Darby four sen higher at RM2.20.
Low profile Kuchai jumped 18 sen to RM1.91 and Sungei Bagan gained 15 sen to RM3.15 in thin trade. The price increase followed a corporate exercise
Sungei Bagan proposed to distribute to its shareholders 3.83 million shares of Kluang Rubber Company. Kuchai also announced it proposed to distribute up to 1.97 million Kluang Rubber shares -- which consists of its current holding of 959,522 shares and the 1.017 million shares to be received from the dividend in-specie by Sungei Bagan – to its own shareholders.
US light crude oil fell 47 cents to US$66.57 and Brent was down 66 cents to US$76.68.
Petronas Chemical added four sen to RM9.35, Petronas Dagangan flat at RM26 and Petronas Gas fell 12 sen to RM17.96. Dialog advanced three sen to RM3.33.
F&N, which had come under selling pressure in recent week, rebounded 58 sen to RM33.76. Dutch Lady added 50 sen to RM63.40.
However, Nestle fell RM1.50 to RM143.50 despite its firmer third quarter results, Ajinomoto lost 60 sen to RM17.80 and BAT 20 sen lower at RM31.30.
As for tech stocks, Vitrox lost 26 sen to RM6.95 and KESM 14 sen lower at RM9.86.
My EG was up six sen to RM1.19 and Datasonic rose 4.5 sen to 35 sen in active trade, recovering slightly from the selloff last week.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar by 0.03% to 4.1807. However, it climbed 0.22% against the pound sterling to 5.3430, edged up 0.01% to the euro at 4.7565 and added 0.04% versus the Singapore unit at 3.0214.