At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 2.85 points or 0.16% to 1,833.02. Turnover was thin with 1.62 billion shares done valued at RM2.43bil ahead of the shortened trading week due to the Chinese New Year holidays which start on Friday.
The broader market was firmer with advancers leading decliners five to four or 495 gainers to 409 losers and 391 counters unchanged.
Among the key regional markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up 1.29% and China’s main Shanghai Composite index rose 1% while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 1.19%.
The ringgit fell against several key currencies. It was down 0.61% to the US dollar at 3.9388 and shed 0.03% to the pound sterling to 5.4858. It lost 0.43% against the euro to 4.8541 and lost 0.29% to the Singapore dollar at 2.9783.
At Bursa Malaysia, Maxis rose eight sen to RM6.02 and nudged the KLCI up 1.11 points, Axiata added three sen to RM5.61, Digi shed one sen to RM4.83 and Telekom lost six sen to RM6.07.
Among the banks, Maybank added four sen to RM10.10 and pushed the KLCI up 0.77 of a point, Pubic Bank gained eight sen to RM22.02, AmBank and Hong Leong Bank four sen each to RM4.43 and RM18 while RHB Bank fell two sen to RM5.15.
Genting Bhd gained six sen to RM8.86 and Genting Malaysia one sen to RM5.26. Tenaga shed two sen
Crude palm oil fell RM30 to RM2,513 per tonne. As for plantations, IOI Corp rose two sen to RM4.70, KL Kepong four sen to RM25.28 but PPB Group lost six sen to RM17.44.
Sime Plantations eked out a one sen gain to RM5.58, Sime Darby was flat at RM2.68 while Sime Property shed two sen to RM1.45.
BAT was the top gainer, up 76 sen to RM32.88 ahead of the release of its results. Nestle added 50 sen to RM116.80, Heineken 32 sen to RM20.36 but F&N fell 12 sen to RM29.82.
Steel stocks climb with Ann Joo leading the gainers. Its preference shares added 23 sen to RM2.28 and the shares 22 sen to RM3.63. CSC Steel gained seven sen to RM1.58.
AmInvestment Research has upgraded CSC Steel from Hold to Buy with a fair value of RM1.83 based on 10 times FY18F earnings per share (EPS), in line with the average forward price-to-earnings (PE) of major global key steel producers.
Malaysia Airports was the top loser, down 72 sen to RM8.40 – the lowest in two months. CIMB Research cut its share price from RM10.56 to RM7.30 as it will have to incur capex to address the weakest aspects of its service quality, under the pain of penalties.