KLCI closes lower as rising Covid-19 cases dampen market sentiment

KLCI closes lower as rising Covid-19 cases dampen market sentiment
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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 12): The FBM KLCI gave up yesterday’s gain to settle marginally lower today as a new record high of Covid-19 cases in the country dampened market sentiment.

The benchmark index finished 2.47 points or 0.16% lower at 1,501.97.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said investors in general were at ease as the US inflation rate in July remained unchanged at 5.4%, which calmed jitters on the Federal Reserve's path towards monetary policy normalisation.

“However, on the domestic front, the number of daily Covid-19 cases saw another record high of 21,668 today, and this dampened investor sentiment,” he told The Edge.

Among the FBM KLCI members, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) led laggards with a 2.35% decline while the Bursa Malaysia Technology Index was the biggest loser among sectors after declining 1.1% during the day.

Market breadth was negative, with 576 counters closing lower versus 384 that settled higher, while 449 ended unchanged.

A total of 3.44 billion shares worth RM2.26 billion were traded, a decline from 4.58 billion shares worth RM3.09 billion reported yesterday. 

Among the top losers were Vitrox Corporation Bhd (down 90 sen or 4.54% to RM18.94), Genetec Technology Bhd (down 50 sen or 1.85% to RM26.50) and KLK (down 46 sen or 2.35% to RM19.14).

The top gainers were Kobay Technology Bhd (up 47 sen or 10.26% to RM5.05), Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (up 36 sen or 0.83% to RM43.86) and Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd (up 15 sen or 7.28% to RM2.21).

KNM Group Bhd, which saw 197.1 million shares traded, was the most actively traded stock.

Elsewhere in Asia, Reuters reported that Hong Kong shares dropped as weaker-than-expected lending data deepened China’s economic slowdown concerns and weighed on sentiment. The Hang Seng Index closed 0.53% lower at 26,517.82.

South Korean shares, meanwhile, slipped for a sixth straight session as foreign investors offloaded heavyweight chip stocks Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. The South Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield fell, Reuters added. The KOSPI Index ended 0.38% lower at 3,208.38. 

S Kanagaraju