Blue chips edge up slightly with KL Kepong underpinning advance

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips eked out slight gains in early Thursday with KL Kepong underpinning the FBM KLCI’s advance while the broader market was mixed.

The record number of Covid-19 cases and concerns about a lockdown in Selangor and the economic impact saw most investors staying cautious. However, glove makers fell on concerns their supernormal profits could not be sustained.

At 9.48am, the FBM KLCI rose 0.35 point or 0.02% to 1,580.87. Turnover was 1.22 billion shares valued at RM720.88mil. There were 356 gainers, 328 losers and 377 counters unchanged.

Asian stocks were steady Thursday and Treasury yields held an advance after Federal Reserve minutes flagged the possibility of a debate on scaling back asset purchases. Commodities extended declines, Bloomberg reported.

Equities fluctuated in Japan, posted modest losses in Hong Kong and China, and rose in Australia. U.S. futures edged down after the S&P 500 pulled back for a third day. The Nasdaq 100 notched a small advance, boosted by late-day gains in tech stocks including Facebook Inc.

The minutes indicated some Fed officials may be open "at some point” to discussing adjustments to the pace of massive bond purchases if the U.S. economy keeps progressing rapidly.

Meanwhile, Rakuten Trade said on Wednesday, the KLCI saw more weaknesses on record high Covid-19 cases and fear of a more stringent lockdown.

“Anyhow, we expect the index to trend within the 1,575-1,585, ” it said.

The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) Selangor had on Thursday expressed concern over the recent spike in Covid-19 cases particularly in Selangor.

“Thus, REHDA Selangor welcomes the Government’s initiative to implement measures that prioritise the health of the rakyat to reduce the rate of infection and to flatten the Covid-19 curve, ” it said.

However, it said there should be stricter enforcement but industries and business should be allowed to continue to operate.

At Bursa Wednesday, local retail investors were net buyers at RM49.6mil but local funds were net sellers at RM24mil and foreign funds again turned sellers at RM25.6mil.

KL Kepong’s surge in its profits saw the share price climb 48 sen to RM22.50 and Batu Kawan 20 sen to RM19.20.

Widetec jumped 58 sen to RM3.78, Y&G 34 sen to RM1.50 and D&O 19 sen to RM4.30.

Petronas Gas fell 14 sen to RM15.74 and Hong Leong Bank 12 sen to RM17.54. Paragon lost 12 sen to RM1.60.

Among the glove makers, Adventa fell 10c to RM2.41, Supermax nine sen to RM4.93 and Careplus eight sen to RM2.64.

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