KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): The FBM KLCI erased early gains to trade 0.1% lower at noon today, as investors turned to profit-taking at glove counters and healthcare providers, after the recent rally arising from the Wuhan virus scare.
At 12pm, the benchmark index was 1.55 points lower at 1550.13 points, en route to extend its losses for the seventh trading day.
The decline in the benchmark index were led by Top Glove Corp Bhd — down 23 sen or 3.83% to RM5.77; and Hartalega Holdings Bhd — which was 16 sen or 2.56% lower at RM6.09.
Also falling on profit-taking was IHH Healthcare Bhd, which was down 4 sen or 0.68% to RM5.85.
Meanwhile, other glovemakers like Supermax Corp Bhd fell 7 sen to RM1.79, while Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd slid 1 sen to RM5. Careplus Group Bhd also fell 2.5 sen to 37 sen.
Bucking the trend was Adventa Bhd, which gained 2 sen at 91 sen to continue trading at its four-year high.
Others in the healthcare sector, too fell on profit taking. KPJ Healthcare Bhd was down 2 sen to RM1, whereas Pharmaniaga Bhd was down 4 sen to RM2.15.
Global sentiment mixed, commodities rebound
Elsewhere, sentiment was mixed amid rising death toll from the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV to 132 — all in China — and 6,061 confirmed cases across 18 nations at press time.
Singapore’s STI is 0.21% higher, extending a rebound off the temporary steep decline in early Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which resumed today after the Chinese New Year break, opened in the red and remained 2.36% lower at noon. China’s two stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen will only resume trading tomorrow.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 is on the rebound after two days of decline, trading 0.6% higher at press time.
On commodities, Brent crude oil price snapped its five-day losses, as it rebounded from below the US$60/bbl mark. At press time, it was trading up 1.36% at US$60.32/bbl.
Meanwhile, all other crude palm oil (CPO) futures contracts for delivery in 2020 on Bursa Malaysia, posted gains today.
In particular, the CPO contract for delivery in June 2020 gained the most, rising by RM165 to RM2,589. In contrast, the CPO Contract for delivery in March 2020 gained the least, rising by RM142 to RM2,681.
The benchmark third-month palm oil future contract rose 6.06% to RM2,731.
Among latest developments on the coronavirus scare, Reuters reported a team of scientists in Australia said on Wednesday that they have successfully developed a lab-grown version of the coronavirus, the first to be recreated outside of China, in a breakthrough that could help combat the global spread of the illness.
On Tuesday, China president Xi Jinping told the head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday that the new coronavirus is a “devil” and that China is confident of winning the battle against it.
Xi added he believes the WHO and the international community will give a “calm, objective and rational” assessment of the virus, Reuters reported state television as saying.