KUALA LUMPUR: The benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) fell 1% at noon May 18 and hovered just above the psychological 1000-point level at mid-morning before closing 10.31 points lower at 1,003.9, in line with the decline at regional markets.
Asian markets opened lower this morning after the slump at Wall Street last Friday on weaker crude oil prices amidst fears of declining demand and renewed worries of a slower recovery at major economies.
However, crude oil prices made some recovery in electronic trading and rose 21 cents per barrel to US$56.55 at midday on May 18.
Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.24% to 9,057.38 points, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 1.44% to 16,549.36, South Korea's Kospi Index 1.43% to 1,371.89, the Shanghai Composite Index 1.26% to 2,612.04 and the Singapore Straits Times Index 0.74% to 2,123.94.
India's benchmark Sensex Index, however, bucked the trend and soared 10.7% at the opening and triggered market circuit breakers to halt trading for one hour.
The jump at the Sensex was amid positive outlook that the Indian Congress Party's victory in the general election there would result in more market-friendly economic policies.
At Bursa Malaysia Securities, the KLCI fell as low as 1,000.34 points, dragged down by losses at key blue chips, finance and plantation counters, as well as the prevailing sentiment at the regional indices.
Losers thumped gainers by 587 to 51, while 95 counters traded unchanged. Trading volume was 822.41 million shares valued at RM603.22 million.
Among the major losers were Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), IOI Corporation Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, Bursa Malaysia Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd.
BCHB fell 25 sen to RM8.75, IOI Corp and Tenaga lost 10 sen each to RM4.34 and RM7.30, respectively; Maybank fell 6 sen to RM4.94, Bursa down 20 sen to RM6.60 while RHB Capital lost 8 sen to RM4.06.
Other losers at midday included Petra Energy Bhd, Kulim (M) Bhd, MBM Resources Bhd, BLD Plantation Bhd, Far East Holdings Bhd and Asiatic Development Bhd.
Concrete Engineering Products Bhd was top gainer at 38 sen to RM2.47, while Putrajaya Perdana Bhd and Loh & Loh Corporation Bhd added 14 sen each to RM4.10 and RM4.48, respectively.
KNM Group Bhd was the most actively traded counter with 81.7 million shares done. It fell 5 sen to 71.5 sen at noon today.
On the Bursa Securities derivatives market, crude palm oil for July delivery fell RM85 per tonne to RM2,665, and RM97 per tonne to RM2,731 for June delivery.