Renewed trade talks hope lifts KLCI, Utusan surges


KUALA LUMPUR: Renewed hopes for a positive round of US-China trade talks saw China and Hong Kong markets and Bursa Malaysia close on a firmer note on Monday.

At 5pm, the KLCI was up 2.04 points or 0.12% to 1,688.56. Turnover was 2.58 billion shares valued at RM1.66bil. The broader market was firm with 489 gainers, 351 losers and 354 counters unchanged.

Hong Kong'a Hang Seng Index closed up 0.71%, led by a rally in mainland Chinese shares as Beijing and Washington launched another round of bilateral trade talks. 

China's markets, which reopened after a week-long holiday for the Lunar New Year, rose 1.36% while Taiwan's Taiex added 0.72%, South Korea's Kospi 0.17% and Singapore's STI up 0.13%.

At Bursa, Axiata rose 10 sen to RM3.83 and pushed the KLCI up 1.42 points as it staged a slight rebound after last week's selling. Maxis was flat at RM5.70 while Digi shed three sen to RM4.55.

On the oil front, US crude oil futures fell 35 cents to US$52.37 and Brent shed one sen to US$62.09. Petronas Chemical climbed nine sen to RM8.54 and added 1.13 points, Petronas Gas and Petronas Dagangan were flat at RM26.16 and RM18.06. Dialog shed three sen to RM2.97.

Aeon Credit was the top gainer, up 30 sen to RM16.50. Public Bank was up 16 sen to RM25.08 and added nearly a point to the index, CIMB climbed nine sen to RM5.76,  Maybank rose one sen to RM9.59 but HL Bank lost six sen to RM40.84, RHB Bank shed two sen to RM5.50. 

Utusan Melayu's share price doubled to 23.5 sen – the highest since August 2018 as investors chased the shares, after its executive chairman Datuk Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir acquired a 31.6% stake on Friday. He bought 35 million shares, at 19 sen each, for a total of RM6.65mil. In intra-day trade, the shares surged to 31 sen.

Insurers fared well with Takaful up 18 sen to RM4.43 and Allianz 16 sen to RM13.56.

Prestariang jumped 7.5 sen to 43.5 sen in active trade. StarBizWeek reported that following the renegotiations of some government projects deemed vital, submissions have been made to rescue the concession dubbed Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional or SKIN. 

Crude palm oil fell RM15 to RM2,275 per tonne. United Plantations fell 56 sen to RM26, Batu Kawan lost 20 sen to RM16.90, KL Kepong 12 sen lower at RM24.40, PPB Group six sento RM18.16, Sime Plantation five sen to RM5.11 and IOI Corp four sen to RM4.53.

Tenaga fell four sen to RM13.16, MISC six sen to RM6.79 while Genting and GentingM were flat at RM7.11 and RM3.32.

The ringgit weakened 0.09% against the US dollar to 4.0725 but gained 0.04% to the pound sterling at 5.2585 and advanced 0.05% each against the euro and Singapore dollar at 4.6070 and 2.9981.

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