KLCI shed 0.32% on last day of trading for 2014, 5.9% lower year-to-date

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 31): The benchmark FBM KLCI closed 5.58 points or 0.32% lower on the last day of trading for 2014, while on a year-to-date basis, shed 105.71 points or 5.9% to finish at 1,761.25 points as at 5pm today.

Overall, a total of 1.36 billion shares, valued at RM1.62 billion, were traded during the day. Market breadth was mixed with 391 gainers against 394 decliners, while 285 counters remained unchanged.

Today’s top gainers included Danainfra Retail Sukuk (up RM1.10 or 1.1%), British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (up 82 sen or 1.28%), and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (up 50 sen or 2.24%).

Meanwhile, decliners were led by DKSH Holdings (M) Bhd (down 35 sen or 6.22%), Sime Darby Bhd (down 21 sen or 2.23%) and KLCC Property Holdings Bhd (down 18 sen or 2.61%).

The most actively-traded stock today was Minetech Resources Bhd (up 2.5 sen or 26.32%), with about 76.42 million shares changing hands; whereas top percentage gainers included D&O Green Technologies Bhd (up 8.5 sen or 36.17%), Eversendai Corp Bhd (up 20.5 sen or 35.65%) and Minetech itself.

A dealer with an investment bank told theedgemarkets.com that market sentiment will continue to be weak, going into the New Year. The key concern lies on the health of the Malaysian economy, amid challenges such as falling crude oil prices hitting on the government’s revenue, the implementation of goods and services tax, and so on.

“There had been window dressing activities on selected blue chips, but the effect would only be temporary in lifting the overall market sentiment, going into next year,” said the dealer, referring to the recent rebound in the FBM KLCI from its 52-week low of 1,673.94 points, seen on Dec 16.

Regionally, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.44%, and Taiwan’s TAIEX was up by 0.42%, while Japanese and South Korean stock markets were closed today.

According to Reuters, the US government’s approval to ease a 40-year-old ban on the exports of crude oil, will further squeeze Asian oil producers, which are already scrambling to cut costs amid diminished revenues, due to a crash in energy prices and weaker currencies.

The report quoted an analyst who said oil-exporting countries such as Malaysia may have diminished government revenues from falling energy prices, and this could exacerbate the country’s debt issues. Brent crude prices were trading towards US$57 per barrel today, fallen from over US$100 in the middle of the year.

According to Bloomberg, the ringgit is poised for its biggest quarterly drop since the Asian financial crisis in 1998, on oil’s slump. The ringgit was trading at 3.4985 against the dollar today. It was 3.2827 in the beginning of the year.