KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips wallowed in the red throughout most of Tuesday before last minute buying of Genting Bhd enabled the FBM KLCI to close barely higher as the broader market showed signs of weakening.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 0.12 points or a meagre 0.01% to 1,826.03. Turnover was 6.53 billion shares valued at RM3.37bil. There were 324 gainers, 765 losers and 358 counters unchanged.
Stock market data showed foreign funds were again net buyers at RM227.22mil while retail investors also followed with net buying of RM26.27mil. Local institutions were net sellers again at RM253.49mil.
On the external front, Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose to a record closing high on Tuesday, led by index heavyweight Tencent Holdings and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx), Reuters reported.
China stocks rallied on Tuesday, with the blue-chip index closing at a 30-month high, led by a surge in real estate firms, even as a poll backed expectations that growth in the Asian economic powerhouse will slow in 2018.
The ringgit fell 0.05% against the US dollar to 3.9575 and lost 0.26% to the pound sterling to 5.4521 and was down 0.05% to the euro at 4.8426. However, it perked up against the Singapore dollar, up 0.14% to 2.9909.
Bitcoin fell US$2,534 to US$11,382 – the lowest since early December as fears grew of a regulatory crackdown after reports that South Korea’s finance minister had said banning trading in cryptocurrencies was still an option.
At Bursa Malaysia, among the consumer stocks, Nestle was the top gainer, up RM1.90 to RM106.10, Dutch Lady added 52 sen to RM60.88 but BAT fell the most, down 80 sen to RM33.20.
Genting rose 15 sen to RM9.48 and pushed the KLCI up 1.02 points. Tenaga gained six sen to RM15.88 but Genting Malaysia lost eight sen to RM5.49 and MISC five sen lower at RM7.40.
Petronas Gas was the top loser, down 54 sen to RM18.36 and erased 1.89 points from the KLCI after it was downgraded following the recent rally and possible earnings erosion from the new third party access (TPA) which started on Tuesday.
Petronas Daganagan fell 18 sen to RM24.72 while Petronas Chemicals eked out a one sen gain to RM8.19.
US light crude oil rose seven cents to US$64.37 and Brent lost 41 cents to US$69.85 per barrel.
Refiners Hengyuan fell 80 sen to RM14.34 and Petron 50 sen lower at RM12.28.
Among the banks, Hong Leong Bank fell 26 sen to RM17.22 and erased nearly one point, RHB Bank shed one sen to RM5.18 while Maybank, CIMB and Public Bank were unchanged at RM9.85, RM6.79 and RM20.88 while AmBank gained three sen to RM4.80.
As for Sime Darby, it eased one sen to RM2.71 and Sime Plantations fell four sen to RM5.50 while Sime Property two sen lower at RM1.52.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM49 to RM2,507 per tonne as Malaysia’s oil palm smallholders protested Europe’s proposed palm oil ban.
“The EU’s planned ban on palm oil threatens 650,000 smallholders and over 3.2 million Malaysians who rely on the palm oil industry for their livelihood,” says the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
KL Kepong fell two sen to RM15.22, IOI Corp shed one sen to RM4.63 while PPB Group added two sen to RM17.42. United Plantations was the top gainer among the planters, up 18 sen to RM28.20.
Penny oil and gas stocks continued to attract heavy speculative interest. Sumatec rose 1.5 sen to 12 sen with 1.11 billion shares done – the highest ever for a single stock traded on Bursa.
Sumatec-WB added one sen to five sen, Perisai added four sen to nine sen while Sapura Energy fell 3.5 sen to 84.5 sen.