KUALA LUMPUR: Late selling pressure on key stocks including Tenaga Nasional pushed the FBM KLCI deeper into the red at the close on Tuesday and it was the only key Asian market which was down year-to-date.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 8.37 points or 0.49% to 1,685.62 while it is down 0.29% since Jan 2. Turnover was 2.58 billion shares valued at RM2.11bil. There were 352 gainers, 470 losers and 407 counters unchanged.
Key Asian markets were mixed with Shanghai's Composite Index up 0.88% and Shenzhen Composite surged 2.28% as China sought to shore up its slowing economy through billions of dollars in planned tax cuts and infrastructure spending, according to reports.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.01%, Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.44% and Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.5%.
At Bursa, the weaker corporate results far outweighed Bank Negara's steady outlook for the economy as it maintained the overnight policy rate at 3.25%.
In a statement issued after its Monetary Policy Committee meeting, Bank Negara said the economy, after expanding at a more moderate pace of 4.7% in 2018, expected it to be sustained in 2019 with continued support from private sector spending.
Bank Negara said the baseline forecast was for the Malaysian economy to remain on a steady growth path.
Power giant Tenaga Nasional fell 16 sen to RM12.80 – the lowest since Dec 22 – on foreign selling after its fourth quarterly losses. It erased 1.59 points from the KLCI.
Genting Bhd lost two sen to RM7.11, MAHB four sen to RM7.99 but GentingM rose two sen to RM3.42 and Press Metal thee sen higher at RM4.31 while IHH gained 10 sen to RM.55 and added 1.53 points.
CIMB lost five sen to RM5.59, RHB Bank four sen to RM5.71, Public Bank two sen to RM24.60, Maybank and AmBank shed one sen each to RM9.53 and RM4.49 while Hong Leong Bank gained two sen to RM21.28.
Glove maker Hartalega lost 11 sen to RM4.99 while Top Glove was ucnhanged at RM4.60.
US light crude oil fell 42 cents to US$56.17 and Brent lost 47 cents to US$65.20. Dialog fell four sen to RM3.16, Petronas Gas two sen to RM17.72, Petronas Chemical unchanged at RM9.19 while Petronas Dagangan gained 20 sen to RM26.40.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose just RM2 to RM2,151 per tonne. Sime Plantation lost two sen to RM5.09, KL Kepong four sen to RM24.72, IOI Corp unchanged at RM4.52 while PPB Group inched up two sen to RM18.42.
Nestle was the top loser, down RM1.80 to RM147 but Dutch Lady gained 82 sen to RM64.28, Calrsberg 56 sen higher at RM25.56 and BAT 26 sen to RM33.58.
Other major decliners were Scientex, Warisan, New Hoong Fatt, MBM Resources and LTKM.
The ringgit dipped 0.01% against the US dollar to 4.0763; but advanced 0.44% against the pound sterling to 5.3726; gained 0.09% to the euro at 4.6203 and edged up 0.03% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0090.