PETALING JAYA: The resurgence of the coronavirus (Covid-19) infection in Beijing and the drop in oil prices are back as a tag team to batter global markets as they shatter confidence among investors.
Despite being one of the best performers in the region, the Bursa Malaysia benchmark index saw its losing streak continue for the third consecutive market day as it struggled to stay above the 1,500-point mark.
The country’s unemployment rate, which rose to 5% in April, also weighed on the index.
The FBM KLCI took cue from regional markets that were in a sea of red, as it plunged 3.05% or 47.19 points to finish the day at 1,498.83 points.
The index dropped to its intraday low of 1,490.44 points, which saw bullish retailers jumping in on a buying spree to hoist the index back up to 1,500 points at 3.35pm and 4.35pm but the negative forces prevailed.
Beijing reported 79 cases over the past four days after no new infections for almost two months, which according to Reuters, was the biggest concentration of infections since February.
A spokesman of the Beijing city government said the risk of the epidemic spreading was very high and resolute and decisive measures should be taken.
While this would have seen investors seeking safe haven in healthcare related counters, all the rubber glove stocks in Malaysia tanked instead as profit taking activities continued.
Out of the 30 constituents of the benchmark index, 29 declined, with only Petronas Gas Bhd remaining unchanged.
Meanwhile, Petronas Dagangan Bhd lost 6.82% or RM1.50 to close at RM20.50.
Across the broader market, the laggards outweighed the gainers at 1,107 and 159 respectively while 227 counters remained unchanged. Among rubber glove counters, Supermax Corporation Bhd was the highest loser after it dropped 13.15% or RM1.04 to RM6.87. Banking stocks were also all in the red, led by CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which declined 4.72% or 18 sen to RM3.63, except for Affin Bank Bhd, which was the only banking counter that remained unchanged.
The volume of shares traded was quite strong at 9.07 billion, with a total turnover of RM5.32bil.
Brent crude oil dropped to a low of US$37.25 yesterday before rebounding slightly to US$38.20, which was still at 1.37% decline from the previous close.
Oil and gas counters on Bursa Malaysia were mostly in the red, with stocks such as Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd falling 6.3% to 59.5 sen, Icon Offshore Bhd down 8% to 11.5 sen and Velesto Energy Bhd down 6.25% to 15 sen.
Across the region, all major indexes were in the red, led by South Korea’s Kospi with a 4.76% decline, Japan’s Nikkei 225 at 3.47% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index at 2.16%.
Closer to home, the Philippines’ composite index (PSEi) fell 4.82 while Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI) and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index was down 2.64% and 1.31% respectively.
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