KLCI flat early Thursday, oil stocks may attract interest


KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips put up a lacklustre performance early Thursday awaiting fresh catalysts to drive the market which had seen foreign funds snapping up stocks while local institutions and retailers took profit in March.

At 9.44am, the KLCI had shed 0.07 of a point to 1,750.34. Turnover was 579.61 million shares valued at RM206.43mil. There were 243 gainers, 185 losers and 335 counters unchanged.

Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research said the overseas markets digested fairly well the latest developments when British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Article 50 and Brexit talk started. 

“Hence, we opine that the near term catalyst would depend on the recovery pace of crude oil prices and US earnings season, which will be starting in April,” it said.

As for Bursa Malaysia, HLIB Research believes the market is overbought at this juncture on the FBM KLCI, hence upside could be capped around 1,760. 

“Nevertheless, small caps and lower liners within the O&G segment may benefit from stronger overnight crude oil prices, which Brent oil recovered above US$50 and may retest US$54 over the near term,” it said.

Reuters reported oil prices were steady on Thursday, supported by falling crude output in Libya and declining gasoline stocks in the United States, although bloated US crude inventories are still weighing on markets.

Prices for front-month Brent crude futures were unchanged at US$52.42 per barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 5 cents at US$49.57 a barrel.

At Bursa, Batu Kawan fell 26 sen to RM19.40, MPI lost 10 sen to RM11.70, ARank fell seven sen to RM1.10 and  CompCorp 5.5 sen lower at 87 sen.

Westports, CMSB and Latitude Tree shed five sen each to RM4.02, RM4.23 and RM5.43 while QL Resources was down four sen to RM4.61 in thin trade.

KNM rose one sen to 30.5 sen with 16.7 million shares done, hopefully to ride on the rebound in oil prices.

Bintai Kinden added four sen to 26 sen with 11.4 million shares done. Bintai Kinden won a S$14.2mil (RM44.94mil) job to maintain the mechanical and electrical works at the existing Raffles Hotel and Shopping Arcade in Singapore.

BAT recouped about a third of the previous day’s losses, climbing 84 sen to RM46.28 while Heineken added 16 sen to RM18 with 100 shares done only.

Utusan Malaysia jumped seven sen to 72 sen with 47,600 shares done.

Poultry company CAB Cakaran added six sen to RM2.07 and it warrants seven senhigher at RM1.51.