KUALA LUMPUR: Telekom Malaysia led the FBM KLCI lower in early Monday trade as investors took profit but the broader market was firmer, in line with the key Asian markets as the Covid-19 vaccine hopes strengthened risk appetite for equities. At 9.11am, the FBM KLCI had dipped 1.18 points or 0.07% to 1,620.67. Turnover was 1.63 billion shares valued at RM632.49mil. There were 455 gainers, 291 losers and 381 counters unchanged. Reuters reported MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit a record peak on Monday on hopes of a much-needed US stimulus package before year-end just as coronavirus vaccines roll out, while oil prices hovered near their highest since March. The MSCI Asia-Pac ex Japan rose 0.2% to 643.1 points, on track for its fifth straight session of gains. It is up 16.3% so far this year, the best since a 33% jump in 2017. Reuters reported Britain was preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine this week. US authorities will also this week discuss the programme before the expected first round of vaccinations this month. Hopes the vaccines will help curb the pandemic which has so far killed more than 1.5 million people globally sent shares soaring in recent weeks. At Bursa last week, foreign funds were net sellers at RM615.5mil but the selling was well absorbed with local retail investors net buyers at RM442.6mil and local funds RM173mil. MPI was the top loser, down 44 sen to RM25.36 on profit taking. Pharmaniaga lost 16 sen to RM5.39 and Duopharma 11 sen to RM3.79 after posting strong gains in recent weeks as they were picked to package and distribute the vaccine. However, with more companies entering the fray, investors decided to take profit. Supermax extended its decline, selling on news as it has been included in the KLCI. It lost 15 sen to RM7.95. Furniture marker Latitude Tree lost 16 sen to RM3.70, MBM Resources and Lii Henn 12 sen each to RM3,54 and RM4.04. Telekom fell 12 sen to RM5.18 on some profit taking. Logistics company Tasco was down 11 sen to RM2.45. Yong Tai was the most active with 201 million shares done, up 5.5 sen to 42 sen. Refiners Petron and Hengyuan were among the top gainers, riding on the higher oil price. Petron rose 73 sen to RM5.98 and Hengyuan 60 sen to RM6.16. Yinson added 41 sen to RM60. IOI Property Group shot into the limelight, up 16 sen to RM1.48 with 2.91 million shares done.
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