KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed marginally higher on Monday thanks to some nibbling on Petronas Chemicals, Maxis and Sime Darby but the broader market was weaker in the absence of strong fund and retail buying interest.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 1.16 points or 0.07% to 1,631.33. Turnover was 3.13 billion shares valued at RM1.75bil. Decliners beat advancers nearly two to one or 595 losers to 311 gainers and 372 counters unchanged.
Hong Kong stocks ended lower, as signs of slowing China and global economic growth offset optimism related to the Sino-US trade talks and a jump in bank lending in China. At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.3% at 29,810.72, Reuters reported.
MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index rose slightly by 0.1%, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 1.4%.
Chinese equities ended lower due to worries about slowing local and global economic growth, shedding earlier gains on the back of stronger bank lending and optimism in U.S.-China trade talks. At close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.3% at 3,177.79.
At Bursa, Petronas Chemicals added six sen to RM8.90 and added 0.83 of a point to the KLCI. Petronas Dagangan added four sen to RM25.06 while Petronas Gas was unchanged at RM17.68. Dialog flat at RM3.17.
US light crude oil fell 54 cents to US$63.35 and Brent lost 49 cents to US$71.06.
Among the telcos, Maxis gained five sen to RM5.56 and nudged the KLCI up 0.67 of a point, Axiata ended the day one sen higher at RM4.16 while Digi was unchanged at RM4.72.
Sime Darby and Tenaga closed four sen higher at RM2.23 and RM13.32 while MAHB added eight sen to RM6.90, Genting shed one sen to RM6.69 and GentingM four sen lower at RM3.07.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM15 to RM2,147 per tonne.
RAM Ratings lowered its crude palm oil (CPO) price forecast to an average of RM2,200 and RM2,400 a tonne in 2019 from RM2,300 and RM2,500 previously.
It said on Monday CPO prices have been persistently weaker than expected (1Q 2019: RM2,017), weighed down by strong production growth that has in turn raised inventory levels.
Among the plantations, KL Kepong advanced 10 sen to RM25, PPB Group six sen to RM18.94, IOI Corp one sen to RM4.53 and Sime Plantation unchanged at RM5.10.
As for banks, Hong Leong Bank rose six sen to RM20.10, AmBank two sen to RM4.47, RHB Bank and CIMB were unchanged at RM5.75 and RM5.06 while Public Bank and Maybank shed two sen each to RM22.58 and RM9.25.
LPI rose 10 sen to RM15.68 after its net profit in the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 rose by 6.4% to RM77.16mil from the RM72.50mil a year ago.
Inari rose 11 sen to RM1.77 and its warrants 13 sen to RM1.24 in active trade after UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research was upbeat about its outlook.
Prestariang fell seven sen to 53 sen in active trade also after it sued the government for RM732.86mil after the latter's termination of the Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional (SKIN) project.
The ringgit rose 0.14% against the US dollar to 4.1085 but weakened 0.05% against the pound sterlign to 5.3819. It edged up 0.05% to the euro at 4.6501 but was flat versus the SIngapore unit at 3.0384.
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