Asian markets mixed, KLCI slips on profit taking
KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets were mixed at midday on Thursday while the FBM KLCI lost some ground amid a decline in crude oil prices while local funds and retail investors took profit.
The boost from a US Federal Reserve statement this week scaling back expectations for interest rate hikes faded, said Reuters.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 3.54 points or 0.21% to 1,714.28. Turnover was 906.96 million shares done valued at RM738.85mil. There were 282 gainers, 409 losers and 307 counters unchanged.
The ringgit strengthened against the US dollar, pound sterling and Singapore dollar. It was at 3.9235 to the greenback from the previous day’s close of 3.9352; it was up against the pound at 5.6283 from 5.6631 while it advanced against the Singapore dollar to 2.9035 from 2.9130.
Parkson’s securities were in focus, surging in active trade in the absence of any fresh news except the recent buyback by the company.
Parkson was up 16.5 sen to RM1.08 with 18.9 million shares done, Parkson-CP jumped 11 sen to 12.5 sen with 123 million units done. Parkson-CO added 4.5 sen to five sen with 48.6 million units.
Oil futures fell in Asian trade on Thursday, with US crude hitting the lowest level in more than two weeks, amid renewed worries of global oversupply after U.S. crude inventories rose to a record high, Reuters reported.
US light crude was down 48 cents to US$37.84 and Brent fell 39 cents to US$38.87.
Petronas Gas fell 16 sen to RM21.86, Petronas Dagangan lost 12 sen to RM23.98 and Petronas Chemicals was flat at RM6.70. SK Petro was unchanged at RM1.84.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery added RM1 to RM2,746 per tonne. IOI Corp fell 13 sen to RM4.55 ahead of the Friday suspension from the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil.
Sime Darby lost two sen to RM7.93, KL Kepong two sen to Rm23.98 and PPB Group flat at RM16.70.
Tenaga fell six sen to RM13.94 on profit taking, MISC lost four sen to RM8.86 but Genting Bhd added 15 sen to RM9.65.
Among the banks, Maybank,Public Bank and CIMB rose two sen each to RM8.99, RM18.82 and RM4.84. Hong Leong Bank lost 12 sen to RM13.38.
BAT was the top gainer, up 32 sen to RM54.20. Poultry company Lay Hong added 10 sen to RM9.39 and Sapura Industries rose eight sen to RM1.04.
China stocks held steady on Thursday morning after the previous session’s 2 percent jump, as markets took comfort in the likely prospect that U.S. interest rates will rise at a slower pace, Reuters reported.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s remarks earlier in the week that the United States should proceed cautiously as it looks to raise rates continued to prop up market sentiment.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3%, to 3,226.72 by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4%, to 3,011.53.
But the Hong Kong benchmark index was flat by midday, after hitting near three-month intraday highs. The Hang Seng index dropped 0.2%, to 20,768.73, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.2%, to 8,996.41.