KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips edged higher in early Wednesday trade, underpinned by gains in PPB Group and Tenaga Nasional but buying interest was still limited.
At 9.14am, the KLCI was up 5.23 points or 0.33% to 1,575.10. Turnover was 1.18 billion shares valued at RM501.07mil. The broader market was mixed with 307 gainers, 279 losers and 354 counters unchanged.
Overnight on Wall Street, stocks retreated and investors took stock of gains from Monday's surge, pausing to gauge whether a bond yield jump had run its course.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 143.99 points, or 0.46%, to 31,391.52, the S&P 500 lost 31.53 points, or 0.81%, to 3,870.29 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 230.04 points, or 1.69%, to 13,358.79.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell to their lowest in two weeks on Tuesday on expectations Opec+ producers will ease supply curbs at their meeting later this week as economies start to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Opec Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said the outlook for oil demand was looking more positive, particularly in Asia.
Brent futures fell 99 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at US$62.70 a barrel, their lowest close since Feb. 12. The global benchmark has fallen about 7% from a 13-month peak hit last week.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 89 cents, or 1.5%, to $59.75, its lowest close since Feb. 19. WTI has dropped about 6% since Feb. 25 when it closed at its highest since May 2019.
At Bursa on Tuesday, foreign funds were net buyers at RM240.2mil, with local retail investors also net buyers at smaller scale of RM22.4mil but local institutions remained net sellers at RM262.6mil.
Tenaga underpinned the KLCI’s gains, up six sen to RM10.42. PPB Group gained 20 sen to RM19.
Chip and tech stocks were among the gainers, with KESM up 20 sen to RM14.38, Dataprep and UWC added 17 sen to RM1.59 and RM6.70. However, MPI lost 22 sen to RM41.78.
Allianz added 14 sen to RM13.62, Kluang 13 sen to RM3.50 while HLI and Magni-Tech were 10 sen higher at RM8.90 and RM2.34.
Parkson rose 5.5 sen to 24.5 sen in active trade.
Among the consumer stocks, F&N fell the most, down 40 sen to RM30.48 while Carlsberg and Nestle lost 10 sen each to RM23.58 and RM136.30.
AmBank, which resumed trading after a two-day voluntary suspension, fell 37 sen to RM2.79. Hong Leong Cap was down 14 sen to RM6.