KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips closed Friday on an upbeat note, underpinned by gains in telcos especially Axiata, and Petronas Dagangan.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 7.93 points or 0.5% to 1,595.81. Turnover was 2.84 billion shares valued at RM2.26bil, reflecting the quality of buying had picked up.
The broader market was also firmer with advancers beating decliners 468 to 388 while 427 counters were unchanged.
Key Asian markets closed on a firmer note with Japan;s Nikkei 225 up 0.45%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 0.6%, Shanghai Composite 0.05%, Taiwan's Taiex 0.19%. South Korea's Kospi 0.11% and Singapore's STO eked out a gain of 0.01%.
Axiata rose 24 sen to RM4.60 and lifted the KLCI by 3.88 points on a Bloomberg report that Khazanah Malaysia fund and Telenor ASA have revived talks on a potential deal involving Axiata just four months after the carriers scrapped negotiations on a broader merger of their Asian operations.
The optimism also saw Maxis gain 10 sen to RM5.70 and lifting the KLCI by 1.38 points while Digi rose eight sen to RM4.62 and added more than one point. TM was flat at RM4.02.
Other KLCI stocks which closed higher were IHH, up five sen to RM5.63, Sime Darby four sen to RM2.26, GentingM two sen to RM3.36 while Genting added one sen to RM6.18 and Tenaga unchanged at RM12.90.
US light crude oil rose 13 cents to US$58.65 and Brent gained 20 cents to US$64.82.
Petronas Dagangan jumped RM1.34 to RM23.80 on fund buying and lifted the KLCI by 2.35 points, Petronas Gas was unchanged at RM16.50, Petronas Chemicals and Dialog shed three sen each to RM7.03 and RM3.39.
Public Bank and AmBank gained four sen each to RM19.60 and RM3.94, RHB Bank three sen to RM5.84, HLBank unchanged at RM16.96 while CIMB shed one sen to RM5.16.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery slumped RM55 to RM2,831 per tonne.
As for plantations, United Plantations rose 26 sen to RM26.30, IOI Corp two sen to RM4.63, Sime Plantation one sen to RM5.31 while PBB Group lost four sen to RM18.50, KL Kepong 10 sen to RM24.40.
Takaful, which came under selling pressure on Thursday, recouped part of the losses, advancing seven sen to RM5.18. It had risen to an intra-day high of RM5.27.
RHB Bank announced its plan to end its bancatakaful service agreement (BSA) with Takaful after market close on Wednesday and this sent the share price down 59 sen or 10.3% to close at RM5.11 on Thursday, the lowest since April 24,2019.
BIMB, which is a major shareholder of Takaful, rose two sen to RM4.20.
Consumer stocks closed higher, with Carlsberg up 36 sen to RM30.20, Heineken 26 sen to RM27.26, Ajinomoto 16 sen to RM14.26. Dutch Lady fell 40 sen to RM45.10.
BAT continued to lose more ground, falling 34 sen to RM13.70 – the lowest since March 31, 2003 as investors worried about its growth prospects.
The ringgit rose 0.25% against the US dollar to 4.0528; climbed 0.43% against the euro at 4.5134 and edged up 0.22% to the Singapore unit at 3.0120. However, it fell 0.08% against the pound sterling to 5.3067.
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