Malaysian stocks shave morning gains as partial lockdown extended

Malaysian stocks shave morning gains as partial lockdown extended
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The FBM KLCI shaved some early gains in afternoon trades today, though it held steady in the positive region — at 2.79% higher than Tuesday’s close — after Putrajaya announced that the Movement Control Order period will be extended for another two weeks until April 14.

At the time of writing, the benchmark index was up 36.01 points at 1,327.15, after touching a high of 1,341.86 earlier.

Most component stocks remain in the green, led by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, PPB Group Bhd and Public Bank Bhd.

However small- and mid-caps see gains trimmed on the news, with the FBM Small Cap Index and FBM ACE Index up 1.93% and 1.95% respectively after touching some 6% in the morning session.

Some 3.5 billion shares valued at RM2.14 billion exchanged hands. Gainers led decliners with 531 against 357 counters, while 344 counters traded unchanged.

Across Bursa Malaysia, gainers were led by Carlsberg Brewery (M) Bhd, PPB Group Bhd and Heineken M Bhd.

Stock markets in Malaysia and most of Asia took cue from the overnight gains in Wall Street, which climbed on hopes of a stimulus package from the US government against Covid-19 and as the Federal Reserve signalled unlimited quantitative easing to support the liquidity of the wider US economy.

Also supporting optimism in Malaysia were measures announced by Malaysia’s central bank to support the cash flow of businesses amid the continued spread of the pandemic, via a six-month automatic moratorium on loans and flexibility for banks to tap their capital buffers to support liquidity.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian ringgit came off its three-year low mark of 4.40 against the US dollar, as it strengthened 0.9% to 4.3925 at the time of writing, after trading at 4.3875/4.4325 earlier.

The ringgit also rebounded by 0.5% against the Singapore dollar to trade at 3.0399, but weakened 0.7% against the Australian dollar to 2.6513.