An electronic stock board displays the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index in the trading gallery at the RHB Investment Bank Bhd. headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

Election Shock Sends Malaysian Stocks on Wildest Ride in 3 Years

(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s shock election result is triggering the biggest whipsaw in equities trading in almost three years.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index erased a plunge of as much as 2.7 percent to rise 0.5 percent as of 12:26 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. That’s the biggest intraday swing since early September 2015 for the gauge that ripped through its 50- and 100-day moving averages.

As Malaysia stock-index futures slumped early on Monday, investors prepared for the worst. The market was reopening after a three-day break that ushered in a new leader, who unexpectedly came to power after more than six decades of the same ruling party. With the nation’s currency weakening, the volatility in the KLCI index reflected the tug of war between bulls and bears as pledges by new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad caused a selloff in construction stocks and a rally in consumer companies.

“There are two sentiments at play in the market now,” said Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer at Phillip Capital Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. “The bull case would be for consumer stocks and exporters benefiting from a weaker ringgit. The bear case would be stocks linked politically to the previous government and construction stocks. These moves caused the volatility.”

The Bursa Malaysia Consumer Product Index rallied 4.3 percent, the most since August 1999, with British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd. surging 25 percent and Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd. as much as 5.2 percent. The Bursa Malaysia Construction Index sank 13 percent, led by losses in Gamuda Bhd. and IJM Corp.

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