KUALA LUMPUR: Construction stocks closed higher on Tuesday on railway and infrastructure projects hopes but the overall mood of the market was cautious in the absence of strong leads from institutional players.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 2.41 points or 0.15% to 1,641.94. Turnover was 3.47 billion shares valued at RM2.36bil. There were 390 gainers, 430 losers and 436 counters unchanged.
The construction index rebounded and it is up 33.26% to 155.79 year-to-date but when compared with a year ago, it is down 24.92%.
George Kent climbed 14 sen to RM1.34 – the highest since August last year – on expectations about its participation in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. YTL Corp added nine sen to RM1.20.
Malaysia is exploring proposals aimed at reducing the cost of the project and will be discussing this further with Singapore before the end of the suspension period on May 31, 2020, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Infrastructure companies IJM and Gamuda rose three sen each to RM2.33 and RM3.28 on revived hopes for the East Coast Rail Link.
Maxis gave up part of the previous day's gains, falling 10 sen to RM5.60 and erasing 1.35 points from the KLCI. Axiata lost four sen to RM4.19 and Digi she done sen to RM4.69.
MAHB lost 14 sen to RM6.94 though MIDF Research believes that the airport owner and operator will maintain its upward trajectory especially in terms of passenger growth amidst the relaxation of visa policies for Chinese and Indian nationals visiting Malaysia.
Among the banks, Public Bank fell four sen to RM22.58, Hong Leong Bank four sen to RM20.10, RHB Bank two sen to RM5.66, Ambank and CIMB were flat at RM4.45 and RM5.09 while Maybank gained two sen to RM9.30.
Strong crude oil prices saw Petronas Dagangan gain 10 sen to RM25.14, Petronas Gas advance eight sen to RM17.68, Dialog two sen to RM3.25 while Petronas Chemical shed one sen to RM9.10.
US light crude rose 28 cents to US$64.68 and Brent added 12 cents to US$71.22 on US sanctions and Opec's move to curb supply.
shed one sen to 34 sen with 249 million shares done, KNM eased 0.5 sen to 17 sen while Dayang added one sen to RM1.55.
Consumer stocks were among the top losers, F&N fell RM1.16 to RM34.84 and it was the top loser of the day. Ajinomoto was down 16 sen to RM17.80, Carlsberg 12 sen to RM27.04 and Nestle 10 sen to RM146. BAT rose 88 sen to RM36.76.
Among the plantations, Sime Plantation shed two sen to RM5.15, PPB Group six sen to RM18.72, IOI Corp one sen to RM4.52 but KL Kepong gained six sen to RM24.98.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM16 to RM2,216 per tonne.
The ringgit firmed up against the US dollar, uo 0.12% to 4.0930 but weakened 0.34% to the pound sterking and euro to 5.3669 and 4.6183. It lost 0.17% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0265.
On the external front, stocks in Hong Kong rose on Tuesday after a fresh Chinese policy support to boost economic growth drove the mainland market higher. The Hang Seng index was up 0.3% while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose
0.2%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.16%
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.19%, Taiwan's Taiex added 0.47% and Singapore's STI ended 0.31% up.