Blue chips inch higher but record high Covid cases may check gains

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips including consumer stocks and Bursa Malaysia advanced in early Thursday trade but the constant high Covid-19 infections may check gains as it delays the full opening up of the economy.

At 9.11am, the FBM KLCI was up just 1.15 points or 0.08% to 1,516.54. Turnover was 356.40 million shares valued at Rm161.82mil. There were 249 gainers, 152 losers and 257 counters unchanged.

Bloomberg reported Asian stocks rose early Thursday after the Federal Reserve inched closer to tapering substantial stimulus but said more economic progress is needed and as traders weigh efforts by China to restore market calm there.

Japanese, Australian and South Korean shares pushed higher. Futures rose in Hong Kong, where traders are waiting to see if equities will rebound from steep losses sparked by China’s crackdown on private enterprises.

Rakuten Trade said the KLCI closed flat on Wednesday on some late buying by the local institutions amid lower daily volume.

"We do not expect the index to make much progress today as statements from the authorities that Covid cases are expected to increase over the immediate term before a recovery can be seen may stifle sentiments.

"Therefore, we anticipate another muted day today and the index to trend within the 1,510-1,520 range," it said.

MPI rose 58 sen to RM42.20, Genetec 46 sen to RM19.88 and Vitrox 40 sen to rM18.96.

F&N added 34 sen to RM25.14, Henieken 28 sen to RM22.38 and Carlsberg 20 sen to RM21.42.

BIG Industries again saw renewed buying interest as investors bet on the industrial gases producer. Its share price rose 20 sen to RM1.82.

Mercury Industries rose 13 sen to RM1.16 after it secured an RM450mil contract from Solusi Kelana Sdn Bhd for piling, substructure, superstructure and infrastructure works in Johor.

Bursa rose 14 sen to RM7.74. For its second quarter ended June 30, 2021, it posted a 3.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) rise in net profit to RM89mil, while revenue was up 9.1% to RM196.1mil.

For the first half under review, the exchange’s net profit jumped 39.4% y-o-y to RM210.4mil while revenue was 29.6% higher to RM428.4mil.

Kanger was among the active stocks, up one sen to seven sen, Tanco two sen to 18.5 sen while Hwa Tai rallied 17 sen to RM1.24.

Among the decliners were PPB, down 18 sen to RM18.24, ChinaETF-MYR fell 16 sen to RM7.05, Mulpha eight sen to RM2.07, Choo Bee five sen to RM1.86 and Westports four sen to RM4.21.

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