KLCI retreats, Bursa decliners top 1,000 on Covid-19 resurgence, Budget 2021 vote

KLCI retreats, Bursa decliners top 1,000 on Covid-19 resurgence, Budget 2021 vote
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 24): The FBM KLCI closed down 19.09 points or 1.2% at 1,578.39 today while the number of Bursa Malaysia decliners rose sharply to above 1,000 as the surge in the country’s new Covid-19 cases to a record high weighed on investor sentiment. Anticipation on the Budget 2021 vote in Parliament this Thursday (Nov 26) also led to profit taking in the stock market today.

Analysts and remisiers said today the spike in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the country has increased the level of uncertainty over the outlook for the nation's economic growth. 

"Stocks are likely to trade sideways ahead of the highly anticipated vote to pass Budget 2021 by Parliament this Thursday, with the uncertainty causing investors to be sidelined,” TA Securities Holdings Bhd analysts wrote in a note today.

Across Bursa today, there were 1,093 decliners versus 250 gainers. A total of 8.36 billion securities were traded for RM4.28 billion.

Top decliners included KLCI stocks Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd.

Top Glove’s share price closed down 55 sen or 7.48% at RM6.80 today after the company said yesterday it will work closely and cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to implement the temporary stoppage by stages of its manufacturing facilities within Meru in Klang, Selangor.

"The safety and well-being of our employees and local community is of our utmost priority towards containing the situation and to flatten the Covid-19 curve,” Top Glove said.

For now, the Covid-19 situation across Malaysia appears discouraging after health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement today that the country recorded for the first time today over 2,000 new Covid-19 cases at a record high of 2,188.

Dr Noor Hisham said the nation's total number of active Covid-19 cases as at today stood at 14,353.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said there were 1,884 new Covid-19 cases across the country. 

Today, the number of Bursa decliners topped 1,000 compared to 674 yesterday.

At a glance today, Malaysian stocks’ trading dynamics showed a stark contrast to global equities' performance. It was reported that stocks, crude oil and risk currencies gained on Tuesday as the formal go-ahead for US President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition burnished a November already boosted by Covid-19 vaccines.

"European markets tracked gains in Asian and US equities, with the broad-based STOXX 600 index opening 0.8% higher and Brent crude climbing to its highest level since March at US$46.38 a barrel. Safe haven assets such as gold fell,” Reuters reported.

CNBC reported that stocks in Japan led gains among Asia-Pacific markets on Tuesday as investors in the region reacted to more positive coronavirus vaccine news, as well as Biden’s choice of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary.

“Investors continued to monitor positive momentum surrounding the race for a coronavirus vaccine. AstraZeneca said Monday interim analysis showed its coronavirus vaccine has an average efficacy of 70% in protecting against the virus. That follows other encouraging vaccine results in recent weeks, with late-stage trial readouts from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna showing their respective Covid-19 vaccine candidates were about 95% effective,” CNBC reported.

Chong Jin Hun