KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed at the day’s low on Thursday amid volatile global share markets, with Covid-19 as the main cause and weakening crude oil prices aggravating the situation.
Yesterday, Malaysia reported 20 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the tally to 149. As for oil prices, Brent crude now trades at US$ 33.89 per barrel, down by 5.31%.
Among the badly impacted sectors is transportation and logistics, with the sector’s index dropping 2.99% to 612.62.
At 5pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) erased 24.40 points or 1.69% to 1,419.43 from Wednesday’s close of 1,443.83.
Selling pressure in key index stocks also dragged the market, led by the financial and utilities counters.
After opening 12.42 points weaker at 1,431.41 this morning, the local index moved between 1,419.43 and 1,432.70 throughout the day.
On the broader market, losers outpaced gainers 922 to 167, with 221 counters unchanged, 706 untraded and 19 others suspended.
Turnover decreased to 3.79 billion shares worth RM3.06 billion from 4.47 billion shares worth RM2.86 billion recorded yesterday.
The Malaysia Aviation Group today said Covid-19, which was classified as pandemic on Wednesday by the World Health Organisation, has forced national carrier Malaysia Airlines to cancel more than 2,000 flights up to April due to travel restrictions by destination countries.
AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes said vacationers and business travelers continue to cancel trips, and social distancing is suddenly a term in common usage.
“So needless to say, all eyes remain focused on travel bans around the globe. That said, everyone knows the number of reported cases in the US will skyrocket soon because proper testing has begun,” he said.
Innes added that there is an increasing probability that current containment measures in Italy might become a necessary way of life across much of Europe and regionally in the United States too, which could swamp the US economy.
US President Donald Trump has suspended all travel from Europe to the US.
Meanwhile, on the local front, amid this market choppiness, glove manufacturers continued to enjoy an upward trajectory with Hartalega gaining nine sen to RM6.57 and Top Glove rising 23 sen to RM6.51.
Among the heavyweights, the losers were led by Public Bank, which declined 60 sen to RM16.20. Maybank dropped 11 sen to RM8.28, CIMB fell 12 sen to RM4.27 and Tenaga was 20 sen weaker at RM12.42.
These counters contributed a combined 10.64 points to the losses in the composite index.
Of the actives, energy counters dominated the market, with Bumi Armada erasing two sen to 16 sen and Sapura Energy deleting half-a-sen to 11 sen respectively, while Hibiscus Petroleum was 3.5 sen weaker at 40 sen.
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index decreased 222.31 points to 9,858.07, the FBM 70 erased 390.28 points to 11,682.70 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index gave up 186.43 points to 10,532.08.
The FBMT 100 Index slipped 202.65 points to 9,742.55 and the FBM Ace declined 208.75 points to 4,515.77.
Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index inched down 4.01 points to 119.44, the Plantation Index contracted 173.03 points to 6,220.55, and the Financial Services Index was 338.39 points weaker at 13,575.07.
Main Market volume slipped to 2.41 billion shares worth RM2.82 billion from 3.18 billion shares worth RM2.63 billion recorded at yesterday’s close.
Warrants turnover increased to 532.27 million units valued at RM100.06 million versus 328.79 million units worth RM56.97 million previously.
Volume on the ACE Market decreased to 841.67 million shares worth RM140.81 million compared with 955.57 million shares worth RM174.36 million yesterday.
Consumer products and services accounted for 342.33 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (322.46 million), construction (209.34 million), technology (247.98 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (81.14 million), property (189.33 million), plantations (53.91 million), REITs (29.06 million), closed/fund (8,000), energy (703.34 million), healthcare (88.91 million), telecommunications and media (53.11 million), transportation and logistics (38.49 million), and utilities (57.51 million). – Bernama