KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended the first trading of August on Monday on a cautious note as Covid-19 infections continued to remain high and amid worries about the political volatility and downbeat economic data.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 1.6 points or 0.11% to 1,493 – the lowest since May 11, 2020. Turnover was 3.42 billion shares valued at RM2.38bil. There were 440 gainers, 594 losers and 378 counters unchanged.
There were 15,764 new Covid-19 cases as at noon on Monday, raising the tally to 1,146,186 cases. Selangor still topped the list with 6,067 cases, followed by Kuala Lumpur (1,536) and Johor (1,222).
Uninspiring economic data also weighed as the headline IHS Markit Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) edged up to 40.1 in July from 39.9 in June 2021.
Remaining well below the 50.0 no-change level, the latest reading pointed to a steep decline in operating conditions, albeit one that was fractionally softer than that seen in June, according to a Bernama report.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar by 0.11% to 4.2250.
On the external front, Chinese A-shares posted their biggest percentage gain since late May on Monday, as investors snapped up stocks battered by a sell-off last month despite rising worries around a surge in new coronavirus cases, Reuters reported.
Hong Kong shares also rose, with the Hang Seng index ending 1.06% higher after touching its lowest point since early November last week. Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong finished up 1.12%.
The Shanghai Composite index finished the day up 1.97% at 3,464.29 points and the blue-chip CSI300 index ended 2.55% higher. It was the biggest daily rise since May 25 for both indexes.
The Nikkei 225 closed up 1.82%, Taiwan’s Taiex 1.48% and South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.65%.
At Bursa, Maybank fell two sen to RM7.99 and erased 0.35 of a point, Public Bank shed one sen to RM3.97 but RHB Bank added five sen to RM5.16 while CIMB and Hong Leong Bank rose two sen each to RM4.47 and RM18.02.
US light crude oil slipped 77 cents to US$73.18 and Brent 74 cents to US$74.67.
Petronas Gas rose 24 sen to RM15.48 and added 0.71 point to the KLCI, Petronas Dagangan 20 sen to RM18.60 and Petronas Chemicals added one sen to RM8.05,
Among the glove makers, Top Glove fell six sen to RM3.92 and erased 0.74 of a point while Hartalega shed one sen to RM7.03. Kossan lost 13 sen to RM3.33 and Supermax seven sen to RM3.20.
As for telcos, Axiata fell two sen to RM3.71 but TM edged up one sen to RM5.95, Maxis added two sen to RM4.28 and Digi four sen to RM4.19.
IHH Healthcare gained eight sen to RM5.72 and added 1.05 points to the KLCI, Press Metal gained four sen to RM4.86 but Tenaga lost one sen to RM9.63. Genting was down five sen to RM4.66 and GentingM two sen to RM2.74.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM250 to RM4,119 per tonne.
As for plantations, KL Kepong gained 14 sen to RM1.66, PPB Group rose four sen to RM18.14, IOI Corp was flat RM3.65 and Sime Plantation lost 10 sen to RM3.30.
However, there were some bright spots with semiconductors and tech related counters among the gainers.
MPI rose RM1.06 to RM45.56, KESM 82 sen to RM13.98, Vitrox 72 sen to RM19.62, Unisem 25 sen to RM8.60 and Pentamaster 24 sen to RM5.54.