KUALA LUMPUR: Late fund buying of Sime Plantation and Tenaga enabled the FBM KLCI to close off Thursday's intra-day low but the broader market remained weak with banks among the decliners ahead of the Q2 GDP data on Friday.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 0.02 of a point to 1, 600.29. It hit an early low of 1, 581 – down 20 points before staging a recovery.
Turnover was lacklustre with 1.94 billion shares valued at RM1.85bil. Decliners beat advancers three to one or 616 losers to 229 gainers while 334 counters were unchanged.
Hong Kong stocks staged a reversal, bouncing back from a seven-month low, as mainland investors hunted for bargains through the Stock Connect, Reuters reported. The Hang Seng index rose 0.8% while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.4% to 9, 903.41. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.21%, China's Shanghai COmpositie added 0.25% and South Korea's Kospi 0.65%. SIngapore's STI fell 0.68%.
A rebound in plantation stocks helped the KLCI close off the lows despite crude palm oil for third month delivery had fallen RM40 to RM2,179 per tonne. The decline in oil prices was linked to the weaker Brent crude oil prices, the Malaysian Pam Oil Board said.
Sime Plantation rose 14 sen to RM4.81 and added 1.69 points to the KLCI, KL Kepong 28 sen to RM23.90 and IOI Corp three sen to RM4.23 while PPB Group was unchanged at RM18.68. Genting Plantation was the top gainer, up 42 sen to RM9.98 and Sarawak Plantation nine sen to RM1.49.
Tenaga climbed 10 sen to RM13.72 and added one point, IHH Healthcare two sen to RM5.68, MAHB six sen to RM8.39 but Sime Darby was unchanged at RM2.17.
As for telcos, Maxis added seven sen to RM5.46 and Axiata four sen to RM5 while Digi shed one sen to RM4.99.
Public Bank was flat at RM20.80, AmBank shed two sen to RM3.94, RHB Bank four sen to RM5.52 while CIMB and Maybank lost four sen each to RM5.05 and RM8.55. HL Bank slid 38 sen to RM17.04 and wiped out 1.44 points.
Public Bank's earnings dipped in the second quarter, impacted by the reduction in the Overnight Policy Rate by 25 basis points. With the bank among the stronger financial institutions, investors were concerned about the impact on other banks.
The decline in crude oil prices weighed on oil and gas stocks. US light crude oil fell 88 cents to US$54.35 and Brent surrended US$1.10 to US$58.38.
Petronas Chemical extended its losses after weaker results, down 11 sen to RM7.20 and erasing 1.54 points, Petronas Dagangan lost four sen to RM22.84 and Petronas Gas unchanged at RM16. Dialog shed one sen to RM3.52.
DRB-HICOM rose nine sen to RM2.70 in active trade on expectations of stronger earnings following the turnaround in its subsidiary Proton.
Consumer stocks were among the decliners, with Carlsberg down 48 sen to RM24.04, Heineken 28 sen to RM22.54 and BAT 26 sen to RM22.64.
The ringgit ended mixed, falling 0.13% against the US dollar to 4.1945 and down 0.27% versus the pound sterling to 5.0670. However, the ringgit rose 0.12% to the euro to 4.6748 and added 0.1% to the Sigapore unit at 3.0184.