KUALA LUMPUR: Bank stocks and Tenaga Nasional dragged the FBM KLCI deeper into the red at the close on Wednesday on continued selling pressure, in line with the cautious key Asian markets.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 7.56 points or 0.48% to 1,551.23. Turnover declined to 1.90 billion shares valued at RM1.68bil. Decliners beat advancers five to three ot 509 losers to 293 gainers and 409 counters unchanged.
On the external front, Asian stocks suffered their biggest fall in a week, following heavy losses on Wall Street and in Europe on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.81%, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.61%, Taiwan's Taiex 1.16% and Singapore's STI 0.67%.
European stocks steadied but sentiment remained fragile as negotiations for a Brexit withdrawal deal seemed all but dead and the US-China trade dispute triggered another round of selling.
At Bursa, banks seen as a proxy of the economy fell ahead of the release of the Budget 2020 proposals on Friday afternoon as investors expected slower earnings growth amid a weaker economy.
Public Bank lost 18 sen to RM19.12 and erased 1.23 pointys, Maybank seven sen to RM8.38 and wiped out 1.39 points while CIMB shed fve sen to RM4.85, AmBank six sen to RM3.88 while Hong Leong Bank and RHB Bank were flat at RM16.10 and RM5.62.
Tenaga Nasional lost 10 sen to RM13.60 and erased one point, MAHB 16 sen to RM8.53 while GentingM and Genting lost two sen each to RM3.06 and RM5.63.
As for plantations, Sime Plantation lost five sen to RM4.65, IOI Corp four sen to RM4.23, PPB Group 16 sen to RM17.80, KL Kepong four sen to RM21.30.
Crude palm oil rose RM24 to RM2,199 per tonne for third month delivery.
Petronas-linked stocks staged a rebound as crude oil prices climbed. US light crude oil rose 43 cents to US$53.06 and Brent gained 46 cents to US$58.70.
Petronas Gas gained 18 sen to RM16.48, Petronas Dagangan 12 sen to RM23.30 and Petronas Chemicals three sen to RM7.20. MISC added 14 sen to RM7.98 and pushed the KLCI up 1.1 points. Dialog eased one sen to RM3.38.
Consumer stocks retreated on foreign selling with Carlsberg recent run-up hittinga speed bump to fall 44 sen to RM27.36, Dutch Lady fell 42 sen to RM57.90.
Magni-Tech fell 32 sen to RM6.63, giving up part of the recent gains.
Semicon and tech related stocks, Pentamaster lost 25 sen to RM4.52 and Kesm 17 sen to RM7.44.
Allianz gained 22 sen to RM14.12 in thin trade, extending its gains as analysts viewed the insurer had more upside.
The ringgit weakened by 0.13% against the US dollar to 4.1975 but firmed up 0.12% to the pound sterling to 5.1374.