At 9.13am, the KLCI was down 2.1 points or 0.12% to 1,784.23. Turnover was 173.21 million shares valued at RM61.80mil. There were 195 gainers, 122 losers and 183 counters unchanged.
Asian shares crept ahead and the dollar firmed on Monday in a cautious start to a week in which the FOMC was likely to wrestle with its bloated balance sheet as part of a long reversal of super-cheap money worldwide, Reuters reported.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.16% having already reached heights not visited since late 2007. Australia’s main index added 0.4% but Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.
Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research said it might expect some slowdown in trading activities on the overseas market ahead of the FOMC meeting as investors may wait for further confirmation on interest rates hike. Nevertheless, short term uptrend remains intact for the Dow towards the 22,500 level.
“Meanwhile, with the rebound on the local front last week, buying interest is likely to sustain throughout this week and KLCI could revisit the resistance along 1,790-1,800. Also, we could anticipate traders to focus on oil and gas shares amid a steadier recovery in Brent oil prices,” it said.
Oil prices dipped early on Monday but remained near multi-month highs reached late last week as the count of US rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to start up after having been knocked out by Hurricane Harvey, Reuters reported.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$49.83 barrel at 0021 GMT, six cents below their last settlement, but still close to the more than three month high of over US$50 per barrel briefly reached late last week.
Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the US, were at US$55.58 a barrel, down four cents but still not far off the almost five-month high of US$55.99 from late last week.
Hong Leong Bank fell 18 sen to RM15.80 while CIMB shed seven sen to RM6.68 but Public Bank added six sen to RM20.60.
Telekom Malaysia lost eight sen to RM6.33 in thin trade while Sunway and Sime Darby shed seven sen each to RM4.50 and RM9.14
Lotte Chemical Titan fell 11 sen to RM5.55. However, Petronas Dagangan jumped 32 sen to RM24.52 with 200 shares done. Petron gained 16 sen to RM10.06 and Hengyuan 13 sen to RM8.03.
Globetronics rebounded, up 17 sen to RM6.24 while Malton and Magni-Tech added six sen each to RM1.26 and RM6.22.
Selected steel stocks including Annjoo and Choo Bee also climbed. A number of steel producers have reported strong earnings from higher steel prices, although some are still in the doldrums.