KUALA LUMPUR: A rebound in Tenaga Nasional's share price helped the FBM KLCI recoup most of its early losses while fund buying was seen in Genting and IHH also.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down just 0.46 of a point or to 1,650.74, off the early low of 1,642. Turnover was thin at 1.76 billion shares valued at RM1.60bil. There were 317 gainers, 446 losers and 406 counters unchanged.
Key Asian markets were mostly in the red, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index down 1.7% at the close, with local property developers among the biggest losers down. The currency soared as interbank interest rates jumped amid protests that closed roads in the city’s financial district, wire reports said.
At Bursa, HPMT closed below its offer price of 56 sen in active trade on its debut on the Main Market due to weaker broader market. It lost five sen to 51 sen.
Among the consumer stocks, Heineken lost 30 sen to RM23.54, BAT rose 30 sen to RM29.50, Ajinomoto 28 sen higher at RM17.68.
Tenaga, which fell to a low of RM12.20 in early trade and weighed on the KLCI, later saw some fund buying and enabled it to close six sen higher to RM12.54 and pushed the KLIC up 0.59 of a point.
IHH rose eight sen to RM5.68 and lifted the KLCI by 1.22 points, Genting rose seven sen to RM6.62, GentingM two sen to RM3.22 and MISC four sen higher at RM7.20.
Among the telcos, Maxis fell five sen to RM5.54 and erased 0.68 of a point, Digi shed one sen to RM4.89 but Axiata added one sen to RM4.71.Telekom, which was not in the KLCI list, jumped 13 sen to RM3.74.
Among the banks, RHB Bank fell eight sen to RM5.71, CIMB two sen to RM5.30, HL Bank six sen to RM18.92, AmBank shed one sen to RM4.45, Public Bank flat at RM23.48 and Maybank one sen higher at RM9.
US light crude lost US$1.51 to US$51.76 and Brent lost US$1.65 to US$60.64 as demand is shriveling as the trade war between the US and China trips up the global economy.
The decline in oil price saw Petronas Chemicals shed four sen to RM8.33, Petronas Gas lost 12 sen to RM17.89 and Petronas Dagangan 10 sen to RM25.48 while Dialog was flat at RM3.28.
Estimates for March and April are pointing to year-on-year declines in regions that account for almost half of global oil demand, according to Morgan Stanley. Indicators including the profit from making plastics have been sinking while refining margins in Europe recently hit multiyear lows, Bloomberg reported.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM29 to RM1,978 – the lowest since Nov 27 last year. Sime Plantation lost two sen to RM4.55, IOI Corp one sen lower at RM4.30, KL Kepong four sen to RM24.60 but PPB Group rose two sen to RM18.70.
The ringgit rose against the US dollar and the Singapore unit but slipped against the pound sterling and the euro.
It rose 0.08% to the greenback at 4.1600 and advanced 0.05% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0494. But it fell 0.16% to the pound at 5.3010 and shed 0.07% to the euro at 4.7147.