KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed Thursday off their intra-day lows as local funds were seen mopping up oversold banking stocks but key Asian markets ended mostly in the red on profit taking and due to trade tensions.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 1.17 points or 0.07% to 1,619.73. It hit an intra-day low of 1,609.
Turnover was 2.89 billion shares valued at RM2.17bil. There were 397 gainers, 453 losers and 393 counters unchanged.
The ringgit fell 0.28% to 4.1460 against the US dollar, which was the lowest since late December 2018. It weakened 0.12% to the pound sterling to 5.4013 and lost 0.1% to the Singapore unit at 3.0615. It gained 0.2% to the euro at 4.6709.
The ringgit had come under pressure on worries over the potential downgrade of Malaysian bonds by global index provider, FTSE Russell.
However, RHB Banking Group believes a thorough review on the Malaysian bonds will be taken before FTSE Russell makes a final decision to withdraw local government bonds from the FTSE World Government Bond Index (WGBI).
At Bursa, bank stocks closed off their early lows. Hong Leong Bank lost six sen to RM19.94, Public Bank two sen to RM22.58, Maybank and CIMB were unchanged RM9 and RM5.05 while RHB Bank added three sen to RM5.82 and AmBank five sen to RM4.49.
Maxis fell 12 sen to RM5.41 and erased 1.62 points from the KLCI, Digi shed one sen to RM4.67 and Axiata was unchanged at RM4.08.
IHH lost five sen to RM4.46, GENTING BHD one sen to RM6.74, GentingM unchanged at RM6.74 while MISC climbed five sen to RM6.75 and Tenaga's 10 sen gain to RM12.16 nudged the KLCI up nearly one point. Sime Darby was uchanged at RM2.24.
US light crude oil fell five cents to US$63.71 and Brent lost 15 cents to US$71.47. Petronas Dagangan lost 18 sen to RM24.76 but Petronas Gas added two sen to RM17.76 and Petronas Chemical eked out one sen to RM8.93. Dialog rose three sen to RM3.15.
Crude palm oil lost RM32 to RM2,173 per tonne. IOI Corp lost four sen to RM4.46, Sime Plantation shed one sen to RM5.10 but PPB Group rose two sen to RM18.80 and KL Kepong advanced 12 sen to RM24.82.
Ajinomoto fell the most, down 28 sen to RM17.22, Heineken 22 sen to RM24.38, but Nestle gained 50 sen to RM146.60 and BAT 28 sen to RM36.26.
Among the tech-related stocks, Pentamaster gained 12 sen to RM4.15, Globetronics and Vitrox added seven sen each to RM2 and RM7.12.
Top Glove fell seven sen to RM4.48 while Hartalega was flat at RM4.73 after PublicInvest research downgraded the rubber gloves sector to underweight from neutral previously as it expects price-earnings contraction to continue.