KUALA LUMPUR: Late selling pressure on Public Bank, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional forced the FBM KLCI to close below the key 1,600 level on Thursday while Leong Hup International ended its first trading day unchanged.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 12.24 points or 0.76% to 1,599.19 and it is down 5.41% year-to-date. Turnover was 2.03 billion shares valued at RM1.71bil. There were 259 gainers, 520 losers and 348 counters unchanged.
Among the Southeast Asian markets, Jakarta Composite Index fell 1.42% and it is down 4.82% year to date. Thailand's SET lost 0.34% but Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.41%.
Hong Kong stocks ended flat as confidence was shaken after the US government hit Chinese telecoms giant Huawei with severe sanctions, Reuters reported. The Hang Seng index was nearly unchanged at 28,275.07, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.1% to 10,811.62.
China stocks ended higher, extending a strong rally in the previous session, as Beijing is expected to roll out more stimulus to shore up the world's second largest economy amid external uncertainties. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.5%, to 3,743.96, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.6% at 2,955.71.
At Bursa, integrated poultry group Leong Hup closed flat at RM1.10. Its intra-day high was RM1.19 while it dipped to RM1.09 briefly.
Public Bank fell 22 sen to RM22.26 and erased 1.49 points, Maybank lost five sen to RM8.96. HL Bank 12 sen lower to RM19.28, RHB Bank and AmBank three sen each to RM5.73 and RM4.33 while CIMB was flat at RM5.13.
Tenaga lost 14 sen to RM11.64 and erased 1.39 points, MAHB 20 sen to RM7.09, Genting seven sen to RM6.45 and GentingM unchanged at RM3.12.
Crude palm oil for third month jumped RM43 to RM2,088 as exports picked up. As for plantations, KL Kepong skidded 28 sen to RM24.12, IOI Corp lost seven sen to RM4.20, Sime Plantations five sen to RM4.64 and PPB Group unchanged at RM18.56.
US light crude oil rose 48 cents to US$62.50 and Brent 51 cents to US$72.28.
Petronas Dagangan rose 12 sen to RM24.52, and it was the only stock in the KLCI which was in the positive zone, adding 0.2 of a point to the KLCI. Petronas Gas was flat at RM16.64, Petronas Chemical shed one sen to RM8.84 and Dialog lost six sen to RM3.22.
Glove makers gave up part of Wednesday's gains, with Hartalega down 16 sen to RM5.10 and erasing nearly one point and Top Glove seven sen down to RM4.90.
Among the telcos, Axiata and Maxis shed two sen each to RM4.40 and RM5.30 while Digi eased two sen to RM4.65.
The ringgit strengthened against the US dollar by 0.22% to 4.1645. This was the first time in almost three weeks after Malaysian economic data beat estimates and the central bank set out plans to boost market liquidity.