KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia traded in the red throughout the day as investors cautiously await the government’s new measures in response to the surge in local Covid-19 cases.
At the close, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 15.94 points to 1,617.25 compared with Friday’s close of 1,633.19; moving between 1,607.53 and 1,627.22 throughout the day.
On the broader market, losers surpassed gainers 650 to 490, while 481 counters were unchanged, 463 untraded and 13 others suspended.
Total volume decreased to 6.63 billion units worth RM5.56 billion from 10.03 billion units worth RM7.16 billion on Friday.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to make a special announcement on measures to be implemented by the government to stem the rising Covid-19 cases at 6 pm today.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said should the government decide to tighten the movement restrictions, the FBM KLCI may fall below the 1,600 points mark.
“The FBM KLCI index only declined by 1.0 per cent as investors decided to lock in profits after Friday’s rally, coupled with the possibility of tighter movement restrictions which could limit Malaysia’s economic recovery in 2021,” he said.
He said rubber glove counters such as Top Glove, Hartalega and Supermax ended in the negative territory, dragging the Bursa Malaysia Healthcare index lower by 0.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, plantation counters such as KLK, PPB Group and Sime Darby Plantation were on the rise, boosted by the latest Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) stocks data.
Adam said crude palm oil (CPO) stocks slumped 19.2 per cent to 583,761 tonnes in December 2020 from 722,451 tonnes in November 2020.
“The dwindling CPO inventories suggest that there could be a possible further rise in price, attracting some buying interest in the sector.
“The Bursa Malaysia Plantation Index followed suit to increase by 0.9 per cent during the day,” he noted.
Meanwhile, an analyst said the not-so-rosy employment and production data for November 2020, which were unveiled today, also affected sentiment.
Earlier today, the Department of Statistics Malaysia announced that the country’s unemployment rate climbed to 4.8 per cent in Nov 2020 from 4.7 per cent in October 2020.
It said due to the ongoing uncertain economic and health situations worldwide as well as in the country, softer labour demand might continue in December 2020.
The Industrial Production Index contracted 2.2 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in November 2020 due to lower mining and electricity indexes.
On a more positive note, the government via the Health Ministry and Pfizer (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd have signed the manufacturing and supply agreement for the pharmaceutical company’s Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia today.
Among the heavyweights, 21 counters ended in the red, with losses led by Maybank which fell by 21 sen to RM8.19 and PetChem, which lost 26 sen to RM7.30.
TNB was 28 sen easier at RM10.44, while Digi and Maxis depreciated 10 sen each to RM4.16 and RM5.10, respectively.
Hartalega lost 28 sen to RM12.22 and Top Glove went down seven sen to RM6.43.
In contrast, KLK added 70 sen to RM24.70, Axiata increased 16 sen to RM3.63 and Sime Darby Plantation rose four sen to RM5.21.
Of the actives, VSolar and Key Alliance were flat at four sen and five sen, respectively, while Bintai Kinden was 7.5 sen firmer at 66.5 sen and AT Systematization was 1.5 sen lower at 17.5 sen.
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index declined 88.97 points to 11,548.48, the FBMT 100 Index narrowed 94.75 points to 11,313.06, and the FBM Emas Shariah Index eased 83.25 points to 13,070.69.
The FBM 70 slashed 55.03 points to 14,433.08 and the FBM ACE dropped 138.37 points to 10,359.04.
Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index weakened 176.70 points to 14,831.41 and the Industrial Products and Services Index slipped 2.58 points to 172.00, while the Plantation Index increased 65.28 points to 7,483.57.
The Main Market volume dwindled to 3.59 billion shares worth RM4.38 billion from 5.61 billion shares worth RM5.56 billion on Friday.
Warrants turnover reduced to 626.78 million units valued at RM99.08 million from 703.01 million units valued at RM100.81 million.
Volume on the ACE Market shrank to 2.41 billion shares worth RM1.1 billion from 3.72 billion shares worth RM1.2 billion previously.
Consumer products and services accounted for 554.26 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (1.35 billion), construction (198.30 million), technology (224.91 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (69.24 million), property (361.33 million), plantations (71.33 million), REITs (13.17 million), closed/fund (20,300), energy (335.30 million), healthcare (232.64 million), telecommunications and media (58.59 million), transportation and logistics (88.74 million), and utilities (34.54 million). — Bernama