KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia pared all its gains to close in the red on Thursday, weighed down by losses in IHH Healthcare, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Petronas Dagangan despite a relatively strong broader market.
Dealers said investor appetite for riskier assets improved as signs of a de-escalation in the US-China trade dispute and expectations that the European Central Bank would kick off another wave of monetary easing.
At 5pm, the benchmark FBM KLCI fell 1.3 points, or 0.08% to 1,601.00. Turnover stood at 1.89 billion shares valued at RM1.74bil. Market breadth was positive with 429 gainers as compared to 362 losers while 418 counters unchanged.
In today’s session, half of the KLCI-component stocks were traded lower, 13 counters rose while the remaining closed unchanged.
Top losers on Bursa Malaysia included Dutch Lady, which added RM1.40 to RM60.60, Petronas Dagangan fell 78 sen to RM23.10, Nestle gained 70 sen to RM146.20 while Rapid added 25 sen to RM5.64.
The gainers included British American Tobacco, Chin Tek, Petronas Chemicals and Pentamaster
Among the banks, Maybank added one sen to RM8.90, Public Bank fell two sen to RM20.14, CIMB declined three sen to RM5 and Hong Leong Bank added eight sen to RM16.48.
Meanwhile, Bank Negara held its key interest rate on Thursday, as expected, saying it expects the economy to continue to be supported by resilient domestic economic activity.
The central bank said it was leaving the overnight policy rate at 3.00%.
Elsewhere in the region, Reuters reported both the Nikkei and the broader Topix indexes hit four-month highs, as signs of an easing in U.S.-China trade frictions lifted cyclical stocks such as machine makers.
The Nikkei share average rose 0.75% to 21,759.61, while the broader Topix advanced 0.72% to 1,595.10, both reaching their highest since early May.
South Korea’s Kospi ended up 17.12 points, or 0.84%, at 2,049.20, posting its highest close since July 26.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.3%, to 27,087.63, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.3%, to 10,592.37.