KLCI flat as regional markets slump on oil slip

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 1): The FBM KLCI ended flat today after rangebound trade in line with regional markets following lower oil prices. The key index closed up 0.5 points or 0.03% to 1,626.5.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 279.25 points or 1.6%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 54.11 points or 0.26% and South Korea's KOSPI fell 0.68 points or 0.03%.

Brent crude oil fell 0.14% to US$49.69 (RM206.17) per barrel.

The ringgit, meanwhile, weakened 0.47% to 4.1480 against the US dollar. Against the Singapore dollar, the ringgit weakened 0.58% to close at 3.0092.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks were on a weak footing as a slip in crude oil prices dampened investors' appetite for riskier assets, while the recently bullish dollar stalled against the euro and yen following a mixed bag of US economic data.

"There was little market reaction to the official and private surveys on China's manufacturing activity, which were roughly in line with expectations, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still struggling to regain traction," reported Reuters.

The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which gauges Japan's manufacturing sector's performance, showed a continued streak of contraction to 14 months in May, with a reading of 47.2 points, little changed from the lowest point of 47.1 recorded in April (any figure greater than 50 indicates expansion).

TA Securities senior technical analyst Stephen Soo said the FBM KLCI saw thin trading volumes today as opposed to yesterday.

"Trading volume was heavier yesterday due to portfolio rebalancing activities by regional funds, also with this being the first week (of) school holidays, market interest tends to be muted," he told theedgemarkets.com.

A total of 1.35 billion shares valued at RM1.66 billion changed hands today. There were 455 losers against 323 gainers, while 351 counters were unchanged.

Top gainers for the day were British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, P.I.E. Industrial Bhd, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd, Power Root Bhd and Sam Engineering & Equipment (M) Bhd.

Losers included MNRB Holdings Bhd, Kluang Rubber Company (Malaya) Bhd and Public Bank Bhd.

Bumi Armada Bhd was the top most actively traded counter, with 92.93 million shares transacted.