KUALA LUMPUR: Renewed investor interest in Tenaga Nasional helped the FBM KLCI to close off Wednesday's low despite losses in some banks and telcos while key Asian markets remained in a sea of red.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 1.34 points or 0.09% to 1,560.93. Turnover was 2.14 billion shares valued at RM1.70bil. Decliners beat advancers 492 to 339 while 378 counters were unchanged.
All key Asian markets ended lower, as hopes of a quick initial trade deal were dented following US President Donald Trump's remarks, but a series of recent upbeat data and surveys pointing to pick-ups in the Chinese economy helped check losses, Reuters reported.
The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.2%. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.05%, Hang Seng Index lost 1.25%, Taiwan's Taiex 0.18%, South Korea's Kospi 0.73% and Singapore's STI 0.45%.
Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AXI Trader said in the wake of the latest Trump-inspired risk-off clobbering and with market risk completely unquantifiable, “I suspect investors are still holding finger to the air testing the latest gust from the 'winds of trade war'."
“If history tells us anything about the US President's wack a mole trade policy and negotiating style, we should expect all this ruckus to be walked back over the next 24-48 hours. Watch out for reversions, ” Innes said in a note to clients.
Maxis fell 18 sen to RM5.07 and wiped out 2.5 points from the KLCI while Digi lost eight sen to RM4.54 and knocked off 1.1 points but Axiata added two sen to RM4.20.
Public Bank fell 16 sen to RM19.30, the lowest since end-October and it wiped out one point, AmBank lost four sen to RM3.82, Maybank one sen to RM8.50, CIMB was flat at RM5.15.
However, RHB Bank added five sen to RM5.65 and HL Bank's 24 sen gain to RM17 nudged the KLCI up 0.92 of a point.
US light crude oil rose 51 cents to US$56.61 and Brent added 64 cents to US$61.46.
Reuters reported Opec is gearing up to deepen production cuts later this week but still needs to agree with allies such as Russia over details of a deal to support oil prices and head off a looming oil glut next year.
Petronas Dagangan fell 10 sen to RM23.20, Petronas Gas four sen to RM15.46 but Petronas Chemicals rose six sen to RM7.10. Dialog shed two sen to RM3.38.
Tenaga surged 38 sen to RM13.48 and gave the KLCI a 3.8 point boost.
Kenanga Investment Bank Research viewed the recent sell-down of Tenaga Nasional over the tax dispute is overdone given that it is not an operational issue.
It said that at worst, the total dispute claims of up to RM6bil could wipe out an entire financial year’s earnings but Tenaga may not lose the case.
IHH Healthcare fell six sen to RM5.29, MISC 10 sen to RM8.10, Genting six sen to RM5.80 and GentingM two sen to RM3.17. Sime Darby perked up two sen to RM2.30.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM10 to RM2,757 per tonne.
KL Kepong rose four sen to RM23.54, PPB Group two sen to RM18.24 and IOI Corp added one sen to RM4.40 but Sime Plantation shed five sen to RM5.07.
As for consumer stocks, Nestle fell 80 sen to RM144.20, Dutch Lady lost 48 sen to RM50.52 and Heineken 10 sen lower at RM26.20. F&N added 20 sen to RM34.50.
Other gainers were Mudajaya, up five sen to 39.5 sen with 60 million shares done as prospects perked up.
Aeon Credit, Litrak, Kobay and Hap Seng Consolidated ended higher.
The ringgit weakened against the key currencies, falling 0.04% against the US dollar to 4.165, lost 0.52% versus the pound sterling to 5.4503, eased 0.06% against the euro and Singapore dollar to 4.6304 and 3.0618.
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