KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 2): The benchmark FBM KLCI closed 8.48 points or 0.48% lower on the first day of trading in the new year at 1,752.77, as Brent crude continues to trade at sluggish levels of US$57 per barrel, while the ringgit slid to 3.5165 against the greenback, down 6.9% from a year ago when it was at 3.2889.
Overall, 1.08 billion shares valued at RM921.65 million were traded during the day.
Market breadth was mixed, with 394 gainers against 312 decliners, while 286 counters remained unchanged.
Today’s top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd (up 38 sen or 0.55% to RM68.88), Lafarge Malaysia Bhd (up 30 sen or 3.07% to RM10.06), and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (up 28 sen or 1.69% to RM16.8).
Meanwhile, decliners were led by British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (down RM 1.1 or 1.69% to RM64), Danainfra Retail Sukuk (down 80 sen or 0.79% to RM100) and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (down 80 sen or 3.51% to RM22).
The most actively-traded stock today was Malayan United Industries Bhd (up 2 sen or 6.67%), with about 72.42 million shares changing hands.
Danny Wong, chief executive officer of Areca Capital Sdn Bhd, told theedgemarkets.com that investors are still cautious due to the falling crude oil prices.
“As crude oil prices continue to slide, investors will keep a cautious stance on the market. The market should be on a more upbeat mode, when crude oil have prices have stabilised at [higher] levels of US$70 to US$80 per barrel,” said Wong.
Meanwhile, JF Apex Securities Research revised downward its end-2015 target for the FBM KLCI to 1,720 points, from 1,930 previously, and said the local stock market will continue to exhibit choppy trade as long as crude oil price stays sluggish, with the continued weakening of the ringgit against the US dollar.
In its strategy note today, JF Apex said foreign selling would re-emerge whenever there was a concern on the slump in oil price, which could trigger the country’s fiscal budget and current account deficit.
Regionally, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.07%. The South Korean KOSPI was up 0.57%, while the Japanese stock markets will only re-open on Jan 5.