KLCI falls 1.52% as Covid-19 fears, weakening ringgit and crude, MAHB, Genting stocks drag

KLCI falls 1.52% as Covid-19 fears, weakening ringgit and crude, MAHB, Genting stocks drag
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (March 19): The FBM KLCI lost 1.52% at mid-morning as Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and Genting counters fell, amid rising worries over Covid-19, gloomy economic outlook, crude oil below US$30 as well as weakening ringgit.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI fell 18.56 points to 1,220.45.

Market breadth was negative with 536 losers and 116 gainers, while 194 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 644.93 million shares valued at RM374.21 million.

Among the leading laggards were MAHB, Genting Malaysia Bhd, Genting Bhd as well as Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd, Scientex Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd.

The actives included UWC Bhd, Jaks Resources Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, AirAsia Group Bhd, Velesto Energy Bhd and Bumi Armada Bhd.

The gainers included Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Country Heights Holdings Bhd, SAM Engineering & Equipment (M) Bhd and Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd.

Reuters said Asian stocks struggled to find their footing in volatile trade on Thursday, as the latest promise of stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB) propped up sentiment while the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

US stock futures turned positive and rose nearly 2% after the ECB announced a bond-buying programme. Japan's Nikkei opened 1.4% higher, it said.

JF Apex Securities Research said US markets plunged about 5% overnight as concerns over the coronavirus continue to drag the market.

Hong Leong IB Research said given the negative performance on Wall Street on the back of unsettled Covid-19 episode, it anticipates the selling interest may continue to spill over to stocks on the local front.

“However, ECB has announced a Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme worth €750 billion to combat the impact of the coronavirus, we think it may see some mild support today on KLCI.

“The trading range of the FBM KLCI will be located around 1,200-1,300,” it said.