KUALA LUMPUR – Axiata and Maybank weighed on the FBM KLCI at midday on Friday after two straight days of gains while the ringgit lost more ground against the key currencies. However, crude oil prices climbed.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 2.16 points or 0.13% to 1,635.77 and the Malaysian market weas the only one in the red. Turnover was 761.95 million shares valued at nearly RM530mil. There were 287 gainers, 317 losers and 317 counters unchanged.

On the external front, Chinese stocks were little changed on the last trading day of 2016 on Friday but the blue-chip index looked set to the end the year with a loss of 12% despite surprising signs of resilience in the world’s second-largest economy, Reuters reported.

The ringgit weakened against the key currencies, faling to 4.4867 to the US dollar from the previous close of 4.4850 and slipped against the Pound sterling tro 5.5106 from 5.4973. It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.1013 from 3.0961 and declined against the Euro to 4.7250 from 4.6853.

Despite the higher crude oil prices, the ringgit fell as it had decoupled from oil which had rebounded from the year’s low of about US$30 a barrel.

US light crude oil and Brent added 13 cents each to US$53.90 and RM56.98.  Petronas Daganganrose 14 sen to RM23.64, Petronas Gas added 10 sen to RM21.38 but Petronas Chemicals fell two sen to RM6.97.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM1 to RM3,105 as the weaker ringgit continued to support its price.

However, KL Kepong fell 20 sen to RM24 on profit taking but IOI Corp added two sen to RM4.40 and PPB Group four sen higher at RM16.04. Sime Darby lost two sen to RM8.12. Batu Kawan, which is the major shareholder of KL Kepong, rose 16 sen to RM18.40, Riverview 14 sen to RM3.70 and Kim Loong 10 sen higher at RM3.45.

Consumer stock Apollo lost 18 sen to RM5.22 after weaker quarterly earnings. However, Nestle rose 70 sen to RM78.50, BAT 42 sen higher at RM43.42 and F&N rebounded to climb 30 sen to RM23.50.

As for banks, Hong Leong Bank fell 10 sen to RM13.28, Maybank three sen lower to RM7.95 and erased 0.5 of a point from the KLCI, Public Bank two sen to RM19.66, CIMB was flat at RM4.56.

As for Genting Bhd, it edged up one sen to RM7.96 and Genting Malaysia shed one sen to RM4.56.

MISC rose five sen to RM7.64 and Tenaga advanced two sen to RM13.92.

Among the telcos, Axiata lost six sen to RM4.51 and erased 0.88 of a point from the KLCI, Telekom fell six sen also to RM6, Digi was down two sen to RM4.94 and Maxis shed one sen to RM6.01.

Spot gold rose US$1.43 to US$1,159.61.