KLCI closes lower on portfolio rebalancing

KLCI closes lower on portfolio rebalancing
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 29): The FBM KLCI closed lower again today as foreign funds’ month-end rebalancing activities saw most reducing their holdings of Malaysian stocks in their portfolios.

The benchmark index ended the day 22.03 points or 1.39% lower at 1,561.74, after having traded within a range of 1,560.72 points and 1,585.70 points, weighed down by Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) — which lost 4.08% to close at RM13.16 after the utility giant was slapped with RM3.98 billion in additional tax assessment by the Inland Revenue Board yesterday.

Overall, market breadth was negative with losers edging gainers by 631 to 295 while 332 counters traded unchanged. Total turnover stood at 2.6 billion shares worth RM2.35 billion.

The most actively traded stock was Pentamaster Corp Bhd, which succumbed to heavy selling on news that the semiconductor firm has been excluded from the shariah-compliant list. The stock closed 21 sen or 4.48% down at RM4.48, with 136.97 million shares crossed, more than 70 times its 200-day trading volume of 1.9 million shares.

Save for a marginal gain in the transportation index, all sectoral indices on the local bourse closed in negative territory, with the most apparent drop seen in the index tracking telecommunications stocks, dragged mainly by Maxis Bhd and Axiata Group Bhd.

Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew described today’s market performance as “unusually bad” resulting from foreign selldown on stocks, not helped by selling pressure in heavyweights like TNB and banking stocks such as AMMB Holdings Bhd, which reported weaker quarterly earnings.

"It is related to the rebalancing exercise of foreign funds at the end of the month. It seems that foreign funds have decided to lower their portfolio allocation here,” he told theedgemarkets.com.

Regional shares also slipped today, knocking a global stock index off its path to hitting an all-time peak as investors turned cautious, fearing a new US law backing Hong Kong protesters could torpedo efforts to end the US-China trade war, Reuters reported.

Markets were sold off due to uncertainty over how US markets will perceive the latest clash between Washington and Beijing over Hong Kong, after China warned the US on Thursday it would take “firm counter measures” in response to US legislation backing anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index fell 2.03% at market's close, while China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index finished 0.61% lower.

Hong Kong’s 2% drop put pressure on markets elsewhere, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi losing 0.49% and 1.45% respectively.