KLCI closes on firm note but down 1.64% in volatile August


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KUALA LUMPUR: Local fund buying of Maybank and Petronas Chemicals pushed the FBM KLCI to a firm close on Friday, in line with the firmer key Asian markets as US-China trade tensions eases.

At 5pm, the KLCI rebounded 16.96 points or 1.06% to 1,612.14. Turnover improved to 2.22 billion shares valued at RM2.01bil. Advancers led decliners 517 to 322 while 395 counters were unchanged.

However, despite the firmer close, the KLCI capped the volatile August on a downbeat note, sliding 26.93 points or 1.64%, but off a recent four-year low. It is down 4.64% year-to-date.

Reuters reported China stocks traded mixed, as investor optimism over signs of fresh Sino-U.S. trade negotiations was shadowed by Washington's firm decision to go ahead with additional tariffs on Chinese imports starting Sept. 1.

Tthe Shanghai Composite index was down 0.2% but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.08%, Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 1.19% while Taiwan's TAIEX jumped 1.49%, South Korea's Kospi 1.78% higher while Singapore's STI gained 0.64%.

At Bursa, consumer stocks were among the top gainers, seen as a safe haven with attractive dividends. F&N rose 68 sen to RM35.30, Nestle 50 sen to RM147.50 and Dutch Lady 34 sen to RM63.30.

Maybank rose 12 sen to RM8.69 and added 2.39 points to the KLCI, CIMB added 12 sen to RM5.06, Ambank 13 sen to RM4.20, Hong Leong Bank 10 sen to RM16.60 while RHB Bank advanced five sen to RM5.70 and Public Bank unchanged at RM20.32.

US light crude oil fell 48 cents to US$56.23 and Brent retreated 29 cents to US$60.79.

Petronas Chemicals rose 16 sen to RM6.93 and added 2.27 points, Petronas Dagangan rallied 66 sen to RM22.88 and Petronas Gas 22 sen to RM16.08. Dialog edged up one sen to RM3.48.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM10 to RM2,231 per tonne.Sime Plantation added 10 sen to RM4.98, KL Kepong 38 sen to RMRM23.98, IOI Corp five sen to RM4.41 but PPB Group lost 12 sen to RM18.66. However, smaller players like Far East lost 13 sen to RM2.55, United Plantations 12 sen to RM25.48 and Batu Kawan 10 sen to RM15.70.

Tenaga advanced 16 sen to RM13.96 and added 1.612 points, Sime Darby six sen to RM2.29, Genting 10 sen to RM6 and GentingM two sen to RM3.14.

As for telcos, Maxis perked up to climb 16 sen to RM5.57, Digi six sen to RM5.02 and Axiata two sen higher at RM5.05.

Bumi Armada continuing improvement saw its share price jump 3.5 sen to 25.5 sen and it was the most active with 355.90 million shares done.

Leong Hup International rose 7.5 sen to 83.5 sen after assuring investors of a better third quarter and a dividend of 1.6 sen a share.

MAHB fell the most, down 32 sen to RM8.32 and erased 0.94 of a point on concerns about the fallout from the KLIA disruption. It posted net profit of RM160.08mil in the second quarter ended June 30, 2019, an 86% jump over the same quarter last year.

The ringgit fared better, rising 0.09% to the US dollar to 4.2135, advanced 0.27% to the pound sterling to 5.1301 and jumped 0.39% against the euro to 4.6536. It edged up 0.07% against the Singapore dollar to 3.0366.

Spot gold fell US$1.21 to US$1,526.49 per troy ounce as risk appetite for equities rose.


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