KLCI up 3% in active trade alongside regional rally as BNM relaxes loan repayments

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The FBM KLCI gained 3.27% in active trade at the noon market break, taking cue from Wall Street’s impressive overnight rally, and as Malaysia’s central bank moved to relax loan repayment for Malaysian businesses.

The benchmark index had touched a high of 1,341.86 before settling up 42.16 points to 1,333.3.

At home, all but three component stocks hit the noon market break in the green, led by PPB Group Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Public Bank Bhd. However, MISC Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd paused in the red.

The gainers stretched across Bursa Malaysia. The FBM Small Cap Index and the FBM Ace Index rose around 6% earlier, before paring some gains — still up 3.87% and 3.2% respectively at the break.

Trading volume was high at 2.44 billion shares valued at some RM1.47 billion.

Gainers led with 710 counters against 207 decliners, while 264 counters traded unchanged.

Consumer and banking stocks continue to lead the gainers, namely PPB, Carlsberg Brewery M Bhd and Heineken M Bhd. Sector-wise, energy, construction and utilities counters led the pack.

Meanwhile, structured warrants topped the losers, namely FANG-1XI and SP500-HL. Stock decliners were led by Negeri Sembilan Oil Palms Bhd, Fraser & Neave Bhd and Rapid Synergy Bhd.

The active counters were led by Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd and AirAsia Group Bhd.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 5.52%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.12%, while China’s SSE rose 1.57% at the time of writing.

The broad-based rally came on the heels of one of the best trading days for US equities in years, with gains of over 9% in the S&P 500 and over 11% in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as US Congress negotiates its near US$2 trillion stimulus package to address the Covid-19 outbreak impact on the world’s number one economy.

On commodities, oil held steady at US$27/bbl amid the latest developments, while gold pared some gains after the big jump on Tuesday.

In Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia announced a six-month moratorium on all ringgit-denominated performing loan/financing for individuals, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from April 1 onwards in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Corporate borrowers, meanwhile, can request for a moratorium on loan/financing repayment/payment from their respective banks, the central bank said.