Bursa slumps as investors weigh political outlook


KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia slumped in early Thursday trade on concerns about the political outlook for the country while the Covid-19 cases surged to a fresh high on Wednesday amid calls for stricter curbs.

Several motions, including to sever ties with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in the 15th general election, will be decided at the upcoming Umno general assembly.

At 9.19am, the FBM KLCI was down by 11.8 points or 0.74% to 1,580.17. Turnover was 970.62 million shares valued at RM513.43mil. Decliners beat advancers 719 to 128 while 304 counters were unchanged.

Asian stocks advanced with US futures after Democrats took control of the Senate following key elections, paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to implement his agenda, Bloomberg reported.

Twitter on Wednesday locked the account of US President Donald Trump for 12 hours and threatened its permanent suspension, as tech giants scrambled to crack down on his baseless claims about the U.S. presidential elections amid riots at the US Capitol, Reuters reported.

Stocks rose in Japan, Australia and South Korea. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures edged higher after Democrats won two key Georgia runoffs, boosting speculation of a torrent of spending to revive growth and reigniting the so-called reflation trade.

On the Covid-19 front, Reuters reported the Japanese government on Thursday proposed declaring a one-month state of emergency, beginning Friday, for Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures in a bid to contain a surge in new coronavirus cases, now running at record levels.

At Bursa on Wednesday, foreign funds were net sellers at RM98.5mil but the selling was absorbed by net buying of by local retail investors at RM86.7mil and local institutions at RM11.8mil.

In early Thursday trade, Heineken fell 66 sen to RM21.54 and Carlsberg 54 sen to RM20.68.

Nestle was down 50 sen to RM137.50 with 500 shares done while BAT lost 34 sen to RM13.50.

KESM lost 36 sen to RM13.02 with 200 shares traded, Kobay lost 30 sen to RM3.11 after the recent surge while SAM Engineering was down 19 sen to RM7.01.

However, MPI and Greatec rose 12 sen each to RM24.32 and RM4.85.

Strong crude palm oil prices saw PPB Group climb 16 sen to RM18.76 and KL Kepong 12 sen to RM23.90.

Public Bank was down 34 sen to RM20 and Aeon Credit 18 sen to RM11.50.

Supermax added 11 sen to RM6 while Duopharma gained 10 sen to RM3.40 and Apex Healthcare eight sen to RM3.63.

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