KUALA LUMPUR: The rally in glove makers hit a speed bump on Thursday as investors decided to take some money off the table ahead of the Lunar New Year and concerns about the new coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 3.54 points or 0.22% to 1,574.44. Turnover was 2.30 billion shares valued at RM1.75bil. Decliners beat advancers 536 to 294 while 371 counters were unchanged.
Reuters reported China stocks fell about 3%, their biggest single-day loss in nearly nine months, as investors unloaded shares related to restaurants, cinemas, airlines and theme parks after a lockdown in the central city of Wuhan tocurb a SARS-like virus.
Authorities in Wuhan, the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 17 and infected nearly 600 people, shut urban transport networks and suspended outgoing flights.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.68%, Shenzen Composite 3.43%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 1.85%, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.98% and Singapore's STI 0.51%.
Banks seemed to be on a steadier footing on Thursday after skidding on Wednesday after Bank Negara's Monetary Policy Committee decided to cut the overnight policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.75%,
Public Bank rebounded to add 12 sen to RM19.14, CIMB and AmBank two sen each to RM5.05 and RM3.84 but RHB Bank shed three sen to RM5.81, HLBank eight sen to RM16.16 while Maybank eased four sen to RM8.51. HLFG lost 16 sen to RM16.40.
The cut in the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 2.75% would be negative for banks’ net interest margins and net profit, CGS-CIMB Equities Research said.
In its research note, it said this was because (1) the size of floating-rate loans is larger than the FDs for most banks, and (2) the timing difference between the re-pricing of loans and deposits – the rates for floating rate loans would be adjusted immediately upon the cut in lending rates but the FD rates would only be reduced upon maturity.
Genting fell 14 sen to RM5.91 and erased 0.96 of a point, GentingM three sen to RM3.23, Tenaga Nasional six sen to RM12.82 and Sime Darby four sen to RM2.22.
With the half-day trading on Friday and extended weekend, investors decided to take profit on glove makers. Hartalega fell 16 sen to RM5.89 and wiped out 0.95 of a point from the KLCI, Top Glove seven sen to RM5.36, Kossan four sen to RM4.64 and Supermax two sen to RM1.52.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM48 to RM2,925 per tonne. Among the plantations, BLD Plantations and KL Kepong lost 40 sen each to RM5.10 and RM23.90 while Chin Tek was down 18 sen to RM6.80, Sime Plantation two sen to RM5.29 and IOI Corp one sen to RM4.59. PPB Group rose eight sen to RM4.59. However, Genting Plantations added 20 sen to RM10.70.
Powerwell was the most active after its listing on ACE Market on Wednesday. It gained 0.5 sen to 29 sen with 136.57 million shares done.
US light crude oil fell 81 cents to US$55.93 and Brent 74 cents lower at US$62.47. Petronas Dagagan fell 20 sen to RM23.12, Petronas Chemicals three sen to RM6.93 while Petronas Gas unchanged at RM16.40. Dialog shed four sen to RM3.34.
Icon Offshore rallied 25.5 sen to 67 sen with 38.57 million shares done, extending its gains after the share consolidation and rights shares with warrants.
The cautious market sentiment also saw Muhibbah falling 19 sen to RM2.03 – the lowest since mid-2017.
The ringgit weakened against the major currencies, falling 0.1% against the US dollar to 4.0695; down 0.68% to the pound sterling to 5.3422; lost 0.13% each against the euro and Singapore dollar to 4.5104 and 3.0161.
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