KUALA LUMPUR (May 29): The FBM KLCI fell by a sharp 8.04 points at the 11th hour after a brief stint in positive territory. The spotlight was on Public Bank Bhd, which saw heavy selling as news of its co-chairman Tan Sri Thong Yaw Hong's demise gloomed the counter.
Public Bank shares ended as the bourse's second-biggest decliner at 5pm. The KLCI fell 0.5% to end at 1,747.52 points.
For comparison, the FBM Small Cap index fell 74.49 points or 0.5%. The FBM Small Cap comprises companies within the top 98% portion of Bursa Malaysia's Main Board but excludes stocks under the FBM Top 100 list.
Interpacific Securities Sdn Bhd senior dealer Sam Ng said there were still profit taking in the market today, particularly on Bursa Malaysia's ACE Market.
“In spite of that, we also noticed that some oil counters like Armada (Bumi Armada Bhd) were performing well today,” Ng told theedgemarkets.com.
Despite the KLCI's losses this week, Ng said he foresaw the index performing better next month after investors digested corporate earnings announcements. Today marks the conclusion of the quarterly corporate financial reporting season here.
Across Bursa Malaysia, there were 2.23 billion shares valued at RM3.69 billion traded. There were 369 gainers and 424 decliners while 310 counters were unchanged.
Top gainers included Y&G Corp Bhd and LTKM Bhd while top decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd.
Most-active was K-One Technology Bhd.
Among top decliners, Public Bank shares fell 46 sen or 2.4% to close at RM18.50 with some 22 million shares done.
The stock fell after the group announced that Thong passed away peacefully yesterday. He was 85.
In a statement today, Public Bank said Thong passed away "following a period of illness". Public Bank chairman Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow said Thong would always be remembered for his contribution to the government and corporate sectors.
Across Asian share markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.06% while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.19%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.17%.
Reuters reported Asian shares rose on Friday as Chinese shares edged back from the previous day’s dizzying plunge, though regional investors remained fearful that the world’s best performing equity market was at the beginning of a major correction.
In currency markets, the ringgit weakened to 3.6675 against US dollar and 2.7201 versus the Singapore dollar.
Reuters reported that most emerging Asian currencies edged up on Friday as the dollar took a breather from this week's rally, while regional units were set to post monthly losses in May on growing expectations for a US interest rate hike this year.