KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI reversed its gains and closed in the negative territory on Monday on persistent selling in glove makers amid ongoing political developments. At closing, the benchmark KLCI fell 21.84 points, or 1.3% to 1,662.74. It had earlier risen to a high of 1,695.96. The index opened 2.12 points easier at 1,682.46 this morning. Market breadth turned negative as losers overpowered the gainers on a ratio of 964-to-461 stocks. Traded volume stood at 11.88 billion shares, valued at RM7.2bil. Dealers said investors sentiment took a turn for the worse ahead of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s press conference today. In addition, all eyes are on Malaysian politics this week as Budget 2021 is set to be passed at the end of the committee stage debates on Tuesday (Dec 15). In today’s session, 14 of the FBM KLCI component stocks fell, 11 counters advanced while five closed unchanged. Shares of glove makers dominated the losers list following a downgrade by JP Morgan Asia Pacific Equity Research which expects glove makers’ prices to weaken next year as vaccines for Covid-19 are rolled out and other competitors boost output. Hartalega contributed the most to the index decline and had the largest move, falling 12.83%, or RM1.76 to RM11.96. Earlier, Hartalega confirmed that 35 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, 20 of them are at the Bestari Jaya operations and 15 at the Next Generation Integrated Glove Manufacturing Complex in Sepang. Top Glove fell 8.7%, or 60 sen to RM6.30, Supermax shed 80 sen to RM6.76 and Kossan eased 69 sen to RM4.70. Genting Malaysia rose 3.7%, or 10 sen to RM2.80, its highest since February 2020. Kumpulan Powernet added 6.33%, or 35 sen to RM5.88, Malaysia Airports advanced 33 sen to RM6.16 and Ajinomoto up 30 sen to RM15.56. Elsewhere in the region, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% to 26,732.44 while South Korea’s Kospi index closed down 7.86 points, or 0.28%, at 2,762.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4% to 26,389.52 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.7% to 3,369.12.
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