Top Glove leads KLCI gainers; MISC worst-hit as Mahathir resigns; Covid-19 spurs uncertainty

Top Glove leads KLCI gainers; MISC worst-hit as Mahathir resigns; Covid-19 spurs uncertainty
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 24): Top Glove Corp Bhd topped FBM KLCI gainers in mid- afternoon trades after the rubber glove manufacturer rose more than 2% while MISC Bhd led decliners after falling over 5% amid a confluence of factors, including the coronavirus (Covid-19) global outbreak, Malaysia’s political uncertainty and lower crude oil prices.

Shipping firm MISC's share price fell 39 sen or 5.07% to RM7.30 at 3:24pm for a market capitalisation of RM32.56 billion. Top Glove's share price rose 14 sen or 2.65% to RM5.43 at 3:26pm for a market capitalisation of RM13.95 billion.

Besides MISC, major decliners among the 30-stock KLCI included Sime Darby Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd.

The KLCI fell 40.82 points or 2.67% to 1,490.38 at 3:50pm as investors closely watched Malaysia's political landscape after unexpected talks yesterday between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and opposition parties to form a new government, which would exclude PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Today, news reports quoting the Prime Minister's Office's statement reported that Dr Mahathir had submitted his resignation letter as prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at 1pm. It was reported that this confirms reports that Dr Mahathir had quit as prime minister, although the brief two-paragraph statement did not disclose the reason for his resignation.

On the KLCI, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd analyst Koh Huat Soon wrote in a note today before market opened. "Market expected to head deep south at today’s open: Our technical chartist is of the view that with renewed and heightened political anxiety, there is a possibility that the KLCI will break below the key support level of 1,500 (being the first support level)."

"The second key support level is 1,470 and possibly falling towards the 1,400-1,450 region. The overhead resistance of 1,570 and 1,600 looks distant for now," Koh said.

Globally, Reuters reported that oil prices slid as investors fretted about crude demand being pinched by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, while leading producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude slumped 2.4% or US$1.40 to US$57.09 a barrel while US crude dropped 2.3% or US$1.25 to US$52.13 a barrel, according to Reuters.