KLCI closes higher, thanks to some late buying

For April, the 30-stock index was up 9.46 points or 0.58% from a month ago.

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed higher on Tuesday, underpinned by late buying of selected stocks like Maxis and IHH and Sime Plantation, amid a mixed broader market.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 5.23 points or 0.31% to 1,682.87 while year-to-date is its down 0.46%. 

Turnover was 2.41 billion shares valued at RM1.72bil. There were 401 gainers, 402 losers and 430 counters unchanged.

Japan's Nikkei 225 and the KLCI were the only two key Asian markets which were in the positive zone while the other markets ended in the red.

There were some expectations that  Bank Negara Malaysia's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could  reduce the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) if growth risks significantly worsen. Earlier, the MPC kept the OPR on hold at 3%.

KESM, which is a burn-in chip tester, was the top gainer, ending the day up 48 sen to RM8.24 while Pentamaster added 16 sen to RM3.33. However, MPI fell 11 sen to RM9.49.

US light crude oil rose 17 cents to US$57.83 and Brent advanced 33 cents to US$64.44. Yinson extended its winning streak on analysts' upbeat outlook, ending the day up 20 sen to RM7. 

Petronas Chemical and Petronas Dagangan were flat at RM8.60 and RM25.54 while Petronas Gas added 12 sen to RM17.50, Dialog added two sen to RM3.37.

Among the consumer stocks, BAT rose 38 sen to RM29.44, Carlsberg 20 sen to RM25.30 and F&N 16 sen to RM34.50 but Ajinomoto was down 12 sen to RM17.60.

Maxis rose 11 sen to RM5.71 and added nearly 1.5 points to the KLCI, Axiata rose two sen to RM5.17 and Digi one sen higher at RM5.06.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM7 to RM1,938 per tonne – the lowest since August 2015. However, the decline in CPO prices did not dampen investor interest in plantation stocks.

Sime Plantation rose five sen to RM4.90, PPB Group 14 sen to RM18.72, IOI Corp eked out one sen to RM4.25 while KLK added four sen to RM24.60.

IHH Healthcare rose five sen to RM5.80. Sime Darby and Tenaga two sen each to RM2.33 and RM13.84, GentingM one sen to RM3.29 but Genting shed two sen to RM6.65.

Fitch Solutions Macro Research forecasts loan growth in Malaysia to slow to 4.5% in 2019 from 5.6% in 2018, weighed down by households.

It said on Tuesday household loan growth was likely to moderate further while construction loans were likely to get a boost from reinstated infrastructure projects.

Public Bank rose eight sen to RM23.06, Hong Leong Bank four sen to RM19, Maybank and AmBank two sen higher to RM8.94 and RM4.35 but RHB Bank shed two sen to RM5.75 and CIMB three sen to RM5.35.

Barakah rose 0.5 sen to six sen with 145 million shares done as news of a white knight offset Petronas' decision to suspend its three-year licence for its unit.

London Biscuits came under selling pressure, down eight sen to 16 sen after it was classified a PN 17 company.

On the forex front, the ringgit fell 0.1% to the US dollar at 4.1440. However, the ringgit rose 0.44% against the pound sterling to 5.1677 – the strongest since November 2016. 

The local units advanced 0.22% to the euro at 4.6408 and climbed 0.12% to the Singapore dollar 3.0419.
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