Weak closing for KLCI, cement players surge

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips ended the first trading day of May in the red on losses by Digi, Press Metal and Sime Plantation amid a weaker broader market, tracking the key Asian markets.

However, YTL Corp's move to buy  LafargeHolcim's entire 51% stake in Lafarge Malaysia Bhd saw the latter's share price surge, with another player Tasek and Sarawak's CMSB following suit.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 10.05 points or 0.61% to 1,632.24. Turnover was 2.68 billion shares valued at RM1.95bil. Decliners beat advancers nearly three to one or 669 losers to 225 gainers while 348 counters were unchanged.
Meanwhile, Asian markets marked time with two major centres - Japan and China - shut for holidays while the dollar held on to overnight gains after the US central bank poured cold water on rate cut expectations, Reuters reported. 

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.33%, Hang Seng China Enterprise added 0.13%, Taiwan's Taiex 0.34% higher but Singapore;s STI fell 0.2%.

At Bursa, Digi fell 16 sen to RM4.44 and erased 2.16 points from the KLCI in the absence of any strong negative news. Maxis shed six sen to RM5.30 while Axiata eased two sen to RM3.95.

Press Metal fell 15 sen to RM4.60 and wiped out 1.05 points, MISC lost 10 sen to RM6.80, IHH five sen to RM5.51 while Genting was down three sen to RM7.01. MAHB ended three sen lower at RM7.60 while GentingM and Tenaga were unchanged at RM3.18 and RM12.28.

Sime Darby edged up three sen to RM2.35 and added one-third of a point to the KLCI.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM64 to RM2,031 – which was the fifth straight day on concern over the level of stockpiles in Malaysia.

Bloomberg reported traders are concerned over the level of Malaysia’s inventories after cargo surveyors showed lackluster export figures before MPOA’s April production data, says Sathia Varqa, owner of Palm Oil Analytics in Singapore. The drop in Chicago soybean oil on Wednesday added pressure to palm oil, he said.

United Plantation fell the most, down 50 sen to RM26.20. Sime Plantation lost eight sen to RM5.08, IOI Corp five sen to RM4.46, PPB Group six sen to RM18.70 and KL Kepong four sen lower at RM24.70.

A bright spot in an otherwise cautious market was YTL Corp's unlisted YTL Cement's acquisition of Lafarge Malaysia US$396mil. The purchase price valued Lafarge Malaysia at RM3.75 a share.

Lafarge rose 42 sen to RM3.72 while YTL Corp added five sen to RM1.18. Tasek gained 18 sen to RM6.30 while CMSB was 14 sen higher at RM3.48. 

Shares of Lafarge and Tasek had run up in recent days on the government's announcement of the resumption of infrastructure projects such as the ECRL, though on a smaller scale.

US light crude oil fell 75 cents to US$62.85 and Brent was down 78 cents to US$71.40. Among the oil and gas stocks, Petronas Gas fell 18 sen to RM17.50, Petronas Dagangan 16 sen to RM24.02 and Petronas Chemical five sen to RM8.95. Dialog shed four sen to RM3.18.

As for consumer stocks, BAT added 54 sen to RM35.40 and was the top gainer. Carlsberg gained 48 sen to RM25.74 and Nestle 20 sen to RM146.30,

Actively traded Ekovest fell 5.5 sen to 82.5 sen, Ekovest-WB five sen to 34 sen and IWCIty 7.5 sen to 94.5 sen as hopes of their involvement in Bandar Malaysia dissipated.

The ringgit fell 0.08% against the US dollar to 4.1380 and shed 0.02% to the pound sterling to 5.4011. However, the ringgit gained 0.12% to the eurpo at 4.6369 and added 0.1% to the Singapore dollar to 3.0397.

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