KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 20): The FBM KLCI bucked regional trend and ended marginally higher today, despite Malaysia posting another day of record high Covid-19 cases, as domestic political uncertainties were tempered by the anticipated appointment of a new prime minister.
The benchmark index, which opened higher at 1,518.23, closed at 1,518.03, up 3.08 points or 0.20% from yesterday's 1,514.95 close.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said investors were feeling more calm ahead of the announcement on the next prime minister.
“Istana Negara's statement regarding the next PM was released a few minutes before markets closed. On further scrutiny, Sime Darby Plantations led gainers on the FBM KLCI index after ending 3.4% higher, followed by telco stocks such as Maxis Bhd and Digi.Com Bhd, which gained 2.3% and 1.4% respectively," he told theedgemarkets.com when contacted.
The local bourse, he said, is also expected to be calmer next week, as the new PM has been made known.
"It will be the trend of daily Covid-19 cases that will largely influence market movement. Therefore, the FBM KLCI is expected to trade within a range of 1510 points to 1530 points next week,” he added.
Malaysia's daily Covid-19 cases crossed the 23,000 mark for the first time today, with 23,564 infections — up from yesterday's 22,948. These raised the country's cumulative confirmed infections to 1.51 million.
Market breadth was largely neutral, with 488 counters closing higher versus 418 that settled lower, while 473 ended unchanged.
A total of 3.68 billion shares worth RM1.89 billion were traded, compared with 3.33 billion shares worth RM1.98 billion reported yesterday.
The top gainers were Formosa Prosonic Industries Bhd (up RM43 sen or 15.30% to RM3.24), Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd (up 36 sen or 1.67% to RM21.90) and Allianz Malaysia Bhd (up 32 sen or 2.56% to RM12.82).
The day's top losers were Genetec Technology Bhd (down RM1.52 or 6.04% to RM23.66), Advance Information Marketing Bhd (down 30 sen or 37.27% to 50.5 sen) and KESM Industries Bhd (down 26 sen or 2.11% to RM12.04).
KNM Group Bhd, which saw 236.70 million shares traded, was the most actively traded stock.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Japan’s Nikkei stock average closed at a near eight-month low on Friday, dragged down by automakers and their related sectors on growing concerns about a recovery after Toyota cut its global production.
Stocks in Shanghai also fell, while investors sold risky corporate debt and the Chinese currency. The yuan was poised for its biggest weekly loss in two months, as investors rushed to safety amid ongoing coronavirus concerns.
Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.98% to 27,013.25, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.10% to 3,427.33.