KUALA LUMPUR: Late selling pressure on selected FBM KLCI stocks including Petronas Dagangan pushed the index into the red on Wednesday while the breadth of the broader market was slightly better. At 5pm, the KLCI was down 0.34 of a point or 0.02% to 1,601.54. Turnover was 5.85 billion shares valued at RM4.38bil. There were 619 gainers, 528 losers and 469 counters unchanged. The local market trailed behind the key Asian markets, except Japan, and world shares which gained on expectations of hefty US spending. Earlier, the KLCI climbed higher after Bank Negara’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) retained the Overnight Policy Rate at 1.75%. However, the central bank pointed out growth for 2020 was expected to be near the lower end of the earlier forecasted range. “For 2021, while near-term growth will be affected by the re-introduction of stricter containment measures, the impact will be less severe than that experienced in 2020, ” it said. Growth trajectory was projected to improve from the second quarter onwards. At Bursa, Public Bank rose 42 sen to RM21.32 as its four-for-one bonus shares go ex on Jan 26. Hong Leong Bank added 16 sen to RM17.60, RHB Bank five sen to RM5.29 and CIMB four sen to RM4.04 but Maybank shed one sen to RM8.09. Among the plantations, Sime Plantation rose four sen to RM5.02, PPB Group was flat at RM19.08, KL Kepong was down 26 sen to RM23.50 and IOI Corp nine sen to RM4.36. US light crude oil rose 52 cents to US$53.50 and Brent 40 cents to US$56.30. Petronas Dagangan fell 66 sen to RM20.66, Petrons Gas eight sen lower at RM16.54 but Petronas Chemicals added three sen to RM7.54. Dialog was one sen lower at RM3.20. As for glove makers, Hartalega lost 18 sen to RM12.02, Supermax three sen to RM6.31 but Top Glove edged up one sen to RM6.14. Cymao fell 57 sen to RM1.93 despite news its unit has secured a RM134.02mil contract for a proposed mixed development project in Sungai Kelian Baru, Perak. Toyo Ventures fell 60 sen to RM3.29 and its warrants 43 sen to RM1.65 and investors took profit. Offset packaging printing specialist HPP Holdings closed up 35 sen to 71 sen with 282 million shares on its trading debut on the ACE Market. Tech and semicon stocks fared well with JFTech up 45 sen to RM1.96, Vitrox 42 sen to RM15.82, KESM and Unisem 34 sen each to RM17.18 and RM7.79. Reuters reported US Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to "act big" to save the economy and worry about debt later. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.38, but the Shanghai Composite rose 0.47%, Hong Kong Hang Seng Index climbed 1.08%, South Korea’s Kospi 0.71% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index edged up 0.1%.
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