KLCI ends volatile 2016 with 3% losses, ringgit lowest since 1998
KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips ended a volatile 2016 on a weaker note as the FBM KLCI lost 3% year-to-date, impacted by outflow of foreign funds, especially after the US presidential elections on Nov 8, which triggered the outflow of funds from emerging markets back to the US.
The recovery of crude oil prices above US$50 from the low of US$35 in January could not provide strong support for the battered ringgit which fell against most key currencies. The link between the ringgit and oil prices had been decoupled in recent weeks.
At 5pm on Friday, the last day of trade for the year, the 30-stock KLCI closed up 3.8 points or 0.23% to 1,641.73, on late buying support for Maybank, Axiata and BAT.
Turnover on Bursa Malaysia was 1.45 billion shares valued at RM1.76bil. There were 404 gainers, 362 losers and 349 counters unchanged.
The ringgit weakened to 4.4862 to the US dollar at 5.25pm from the previous close of 4.4850 – off the intra-year high of 3.8668 on April 20. At 4.462 – the ringgit is at its weakest since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis.
The local unit slipped to 5.5120 against the pound sterling from 5.4973 and it was at 3.1008 against the Singapore dollar from 3.0961. It weakened against the Euro to 4.7203 from 4.6853.
Asian equities climbed for a third straight session on the last trading day of the year as Japanese stocks trimmed losses as the yen weakened. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2% at 3.02pm. in Hong Kong. The gauge has risen 2.3 percent in 2016, set for first annual gain since 2013, acording to Bloomberg.
Maybank rose 22 sen to RM8.20 and pushed the KLCI up 3.81 points, Hong Leong Bank added 12 sen to RM13.50, AmBank added six sen to RM4.31 and Public Bank four sen higher at RM6.35. HLFG lost six sen to RM14.22, RHB Bank three sen to RM4.71 and CIMB five sen to RM4.51.
Axiata rose 15 sen to RM4.72 and pushed the KLCI up 2.29 points, Maxis lost four sen to RM5.98, Telekom 11 sen lower at RM5.95 while Digi fell 13 sen to RM4.83 and erased 1.72 points from the KLCI.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM7 to RM3,113 per tonne, capping off the year on a strong note after the severe El Nino reduced output while the weaker ringgit also supported the prices.
KL Kepong lost 20 sen to RM24, PPB Group 14 sen to RM15.86, Sime Darby four sen down to RM8.10 and IOI Corp two sen lower to RM4.40.
Tenaga was flat at RM13.90, Genting Bhd added five sen to RM8 and Genting Malaysia edged up one sen to RM4.58.
Oil prices are on track for their biggest annual percentage gain since 2009 on the back of an agreement struck between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut crude production output, Reuters reported. US light crude and Brent added 29 cents each to US$54.06 and RM57.14.
Petronas Dagangan added 30 sen to RM23.80 and added 0.5 of a point to the KLCI, Petronas Gas inched up two sen to RM21.30 and Petronas Chemicals one sen lower at RM6.98.
Among the consumer stocks, late fund buying pushed BAT up RM1.60 to RM44.60 while Nestle added 40 sen to RM78.20 and F&N 28 sen to RM23.48. However, Apollo lost 16 sen to RM5.24 on weaker earnings and Heineken lost 12 sen to RM16.38.
Oil and gas penny stocks were actively traded on the firm crude oil prices. Borneo Oil was flat at 18 sen with 84.4 million shares done with its warrants WC lost 0.5 sen to 9.5 sen.
Sumatec and Sumatec-WB were flat at 7.5 sen and four sen, Perisai shed 0.5 sen to 8.5 sen and Hibiscus unchanged at 41 sen while KNM lost 1.5 sen to 34 sen.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.16% to 19,114.37;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.96% to 22,000.56;
CSI 300 added 0.37% to 3,310.08;
Shanghai’s Composite Index added 0.24% to 3,103.64;
Hang Seng China Enterprise added 0.88% to 9,394.87;
Taiwan’s Taiex gained 1.1% to 9,253.50 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index shed 0.15% to 2,884.93.
Spot gold rose 76 cents to US$1,158.95 per ounce.