KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 13): The FBMKLCI ended marginally higher today as plantation stocks lifted, while investors digested domestic economic data and developments on Covid-19 cases in the country. The benchmark index ticked up just 3.14 points or 0.21% to settle at 1,505.11.
Market breadth, however, was negative, with 579 counters closing lower versus 373 that settled higher, while 457 ended unchanged. A total of 3.53 billion shares worth RM2.09 billion were traded, a decline from 3.44 billion shares worth RM2.26 billion reported yesterday.
Areca Capital Sdn Bhd CEO Danny Wong said plantation stocks such as Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd helped to push the index higher today. “Market is waiting for catalysts, including the latest gross domestic product (GDP) announcement by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) today and corporate earnings report, aside from development on political and Covid-19 cases,” he told theedgemarkets.com when contacted.
He also said investors had expected the central bank to make a bigger cut to its full-year GDP forecast to below 3%.
Earlier, the central bank slashed its full-year GDP growth forecast for Malaysia to between 3% and 4%, from the previous forecast of between 6% and 7.5% for 2021. BNM also said Malaysia's GDP grew 16.1% year-on-year in the second quarter, although it contracted 2% on a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) basis.
On the pandemic front, the country reported 21,468 new daily Covid-19 infections — the second consecutive day of cases staying above the 21,000 mark — though it was a retreat from the all-time high of 21,668 yesterday.
Back to Bursa Malaysia, among top losers of the day were Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd (down 18 sen or 0.84% to RM21.28), Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (down 17 sen or 3.91% to RM4.18) and Kobay Technology Bhd (down 16 sen or 3.17% to RM4.89).
The top gainers were Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (up RM1.04 sen or 5.43% to RM20.18), Genetec Technology Bhd (up 76 sen or 2.87% to RM27.26) and SAM Engineering & Equipment Bhd (up 38 sen or 2.73% to RM14.30).
Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd, which saw 172.80 million shares traded, was the most actively traded stock.
Elsewhere in Asia, Reuters reported China shares closed lower on Friday, as the country’s top chipmaker SMIC dragged semiconductor stocks. Hong Kong shares also fell as tech stocks weighed on the city’s benchmark index.
The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.24% to close at 3,516.30, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.48% to 26,391.62.