KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional came under selling pressure on Thursday after its major shareholder Khazanah Nasional disposed of 85 million shares for RM1bil.
The slide in the power giant's share price weighed heavily on the already cautious stock market where the FBM KLCI closed down 15.23 points or 0.93% to 1,624.23.
The KLCI closed at the lowest since December 2016 with only one out of the 30 stocks in the index in the positive zone. Turnover was 3.58 billion shares valued at RM2.27bil.
The broader market was weaker as losers beat gainers more than two to one or 620 decliners to 275 advancers and 390 counters unchanged.
StarBiz Online reported the 85 million Tenaga shares were transacted at RM12.33 each or 25 sen below Wednesday's close.
The 85 million shares represented a 1.49% stake based on Tenaga's share base of 5.686 billion units. At the close, Tenaga was down 52 sen to RM12.06.
Stephen Innes, head of trading and market strategy at SPI Asset Management said foreign investors were continuing to withdraw funds from the local stock market, and this was hurting the ringgit.
“I remain bullish in the ringgit even more as China data has started to turn positive and oil prices are rocketing higher. But perhaps traders are waiting for further confirmation from this week China data blitz,” he said.
As for the KLCI, Innes said however, the index could be suffering from the China MSCI rebalancing vacuum effect as investor flock to China A-shares anticipating more explosive returns as mainland's inflows are expected to accelerate over the next three to five months.
Market sentiment was also impacted by the weaker-than-expected industrial production index. Malaysia's industrial production index (IPI) increased at a slower pace of 1.7% in February compared with a Bloomberg survey of a 2.2% increase due to a decline in the mining output.
Malaysia Airports also came under selling pressure, extending the decline over the week on concerns about the impact from the passenger departure levy. It fell 14 sen to RM6.61.
Bloomberg reported the International Air Transport Association was disappointed with the proposed response to the passing of departure levy bill by parliament.
“Levy would reduce number of passengers departing Malaysia by up to 835,000 a year. Aviation sector’s GDP contribution would be lowered by up to US$419mil and lead to loss of up to 5,300 jobs. The levy would erode Malaysia’s competitiveness as tourist destination,” IATA was reported saying.
Among the telcos, Maxis fell 10 sen to RM5.50, Axiata six sen to RM4.09 while Digi was unchaged at RMRM4.69.
Sime Plantation lost nine sen to RM5.05, IOI Corp four seb to RM4.48, PPB Group 12 sen to RM18.68 and KL Kepong unchanged at RM24.90.
IHH fell five sen to RM5.55, Genting Bhd
11 sen to RM6.68, GentingM five sen to RM3.13. Sime Darby was the only gainer among the 30 stocks, ekeing out a one sen gain to RM2.20.
Petronas Chemical fell four sen to RM8.96, Dialog five sen to RM3.19, Petronas Dagangan two sen lower at RM24.98 and Petronas Gas flat at RM17.623.
As for banks, Maybank and CIMB lost two sen each to RM9.26 and RM5.06, Hong Leong Bank four sen to RM20.04 while RHB Bank and AmBank one sen lower to RM5.,68 and RM4.43. Public Bank shed two sen to RM22.62.