KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia gave up some of the early gains on Tuesday to end the morning session in the red, tracking the cautious key Asian markets, on worries about a breakout of war.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 0.31 of a point or 0.02% to 1,600.94. Turnover was 1.63 billion shares valued at RM1.03bil. There were 315 gainers, 400 losers and 355 counters unchanged.
Oil shed some of its massive gains as the US flagged the possible release of crude reserves, but the threat of military action over the attacks on Saudi oil facilities kept prices elevated and stocks under pressure, Reuters reported.
At midday, US light crude fell 87 cents to US$62.03 and Brent lost 73 cents to US$68.29.
While equity market losses have not been large, shaky investor confidence continued to support safe-haven assets, with gold edging higher and Treasury prices rising.
Investors otherwise broadly remained on the sidelines ahead of an expected interest rate cut from the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the next round of US-China trade talks on Thursday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.02%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 1.01%, Shanghai Composite Index was down by 1.02% and Taiwan's Composite Index 0.23% lower while Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.44%.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose by RM66 to RM2,287 per tonne, but off the early high of RM2,292.
Despite the gains, KL Kepong lost 14 sen to RM23.60, PPB Group 12 sen to RM18.44 and Sime Plantation seven sen lower at RM4.79 while IOI Corp was unchanged at RM4.41.
Petronas Chemical rose 23 sen to RM7.64 and pushed the KLCI up 2.86 points, Petronas Gas added 24 sen to RM16.48 and Petronas Dagangan 38 sen to RM23.68. Dialog was unchanged at RM3.49.
Among the banks, Maybank and Public Bank were unchanged at RM8.90 and RM20.14 but Hong Leong Bank and RHB Bank added four sen each to RM16.44 abd RM5.69. AmBank lost nine sen to RM4.08 and CIMB two sen lower at RM5.
Tenaga fell 10 sen to RM13.68 and wiped out nearly 0.9 of a point while IHH Healthcare was unchanged at RM5.66 and SIme Darby edged up pone sen to RM2.35. GentingM and GENTING BHD shed one sen each to RM3.21 and RM5.83.
As for telcos, Maxis rose four sen to RM5.64, Axiata five sen higher at RM4.22 but Digi fell one sen to RM4.70.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar by 0.35% to 4.1800 and slipped 0.26% to the pound sterling to 5.1894 and fell by 0.13% against the Singapore unit to 3.0373. However, the ringgit rose 0.07% against the euro to 4.6025.
Spot gold stayed below the key US$1,500 per troy ounce, shedding 32 cents to US$1,498.