KLCI closes shade higher but broader market weak

KUALA LUMPUR: Banks, Hartalega and Petronas-linked stocks enabled the FBM KLCI to close a shade higher on Monday in very volatile trade but the broader market weakened with over 1,000 counters in the red.

At 5pm, the KLCI was up 0.94 of a point or 0.06% to 1,583.46. Turnover was 6.60 billion shares valued at RM3.80bil. Decliners hammered advancers more than five to one or 1,061 losers to 195 gainers and 301 counters unchanged.

Concerns about the nationwide MCO and rising Covid-19 cases curbed overall investor appetite for riskier assets, though there were speculative plays seen in small cap stocks.

Malaysia recorded 4,446 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, bringing the cumulative total to 474,556, according to the Health Ministry. Selangor has the highest number of infections at 1,650 followed by Sarawak (433) and Johor (391).

Among the glove makers, Hartalega rose 18 sen to RM9.71 but Supermax lost 13 sen to RM4.64 and Top Glove six sen to RM5.29.

As for oil and gas stocks, Petronas Gas advanced 18 sen to RM15.98 and Petronas Dagangan gained four sen to RM19.14 but Petronas Chemicals was down by 15 sen to RM7.95 and Dialog four sen to RM2.96.

Among the banks, Public Bank was up by 12 sen to RM4.26, Maybank nine sen to RM8.30, CIMB seven sen to RM4.25 but HL Bank shed eight sen to RM17.62.

As for telcos, Maxis gained 10 sen to RM4.63, Telekom eight sen to RM5.72 but Digi lost five sen to RM4.15 and Axiata shed four sen to RM3.67.

MISC gained seven sen to RM6.80 and Tenaga four sen to RM9.91 but IHH lost 13 sen to RM5.32, Genting 11 sen lower at RM4.69 and Genting Malaysia six sen to RM2.71.

Among the plantations, KL Kepong lost 54 sen to RN21.96, PPB 16 sen to RM18.50, Sime Plantation six sen to RM4.50 while IOI Corp gave up five sen to RM4.07.

Concerns about rising commodity prices weighed on consumer stocks. F&N fell RM1.80 to RM27m Nestle RM1 to RM135 and Dutch Lady 68 sen to RM34.20.

Higher gold prices saw jewelry makers Tomei and Poh Kong rise in active trade. Tomei hit limit-up, climbing 30 sen to RM1.31 and Poh Kong jumped 22 sen to RM1.04.

Gold rose to a three-month high as weaker bond yields added to the metal’s allure amid signs bullion investors are turning more positive.

Chip and tech stocks were among the top losers, with MPI and UWC slumping 40 sen to RM35.80 and RM5 while Unisem lost 25 sen to RM6.90 and Greatec 23 sen to RM4.97.

Spot gold rose 0.5% to $1,853.12 an ounce by 10 a.m. in London, after reaching the highest since Feb. 10. Silver, platinum and palladium also gained. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady, Bloomberg reported.

Reuters reported China stocks appear to be staging a revival, notching their best two-day run since February on expectations that Beijing will likely maintain its policy support for an economic recovery that’s losing steam.

The CSI 300 Index closed 1.5% higher, extending gains from Friday to 3.9%. The benchmark traded up to session highs following official monthly data showing that economic activity moderated in April - a development that analysts say could result in sustaining government support and tame fears over tightening liquidity.

According to Reuters, Hong Kong stocks closed firmer on Monday, as tech and materials firms tracked Wall Street strength, while investors appeared to show scant reaction to China's lacklustre economic data.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.6%, to 28,194.09, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.0%, to 10,503.84 points.

Japanese shares reversed course to settle lower on Monday, as worries over the slow pace of the domestic vaccination drive overwhelmed a boost from solid gains in Wall Street shares.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.92% to close at 27,824.83, after rising 0.8% earlier in the session, while the broader Topix edged down 0.24% to 1,878.86.

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