KLCI slides at midday, ringgit weaker

KUALA LUMPUR:  Local bourse benchmark FBM KLCI ended the morning trading session in a negative territory amid a weak broader market while the ringgit lost ground.

At 12.30 pm, the FBM KLCI fell 1.24 points to 1,784.83. It opened  0.07 of-a-point higher at 1,786.14. 

In the broader market, losers trounced gainers 404 to 339 while 333 counters were unchanged. Turnover stood at 1.06 billion shares worth RM712.62mil.

The ringgit retreats against the US dollar today on subdued demand for the local currency, as investors eye the release of key US inflation data today.

At midday, the ringgit was quoted at 4.2010 against the greenback. 

Overnight, the US markets extended their record highs as gains in energy counters offset decline in technology stocks. Earlier, European stocks tumbled led by losses in mining and basic resources counters.

JF Apex said following the mixed performance in the US and Europe, the FBM KLCI is expected to continue hovering below the resistance of 1,800 points.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Investment Bank Research (HLIB) said profit taking may set in after an overheated interest among penny stocks. 

The research house said in the US, the ongoing positive sentiments should remained intact over the mid to long term as investors continue to favour Trump’s economic policies and economic data are showing signs of healthy growth in the US economy. 

However, it said the immediate resistance zone for the Dow and S&P500 are located at 22,200 and 2,550.

“Meanwhile, stocks on the local bourse could trend gradually higher and revisit the 1,795-1,800 levels with the help of stronger crude oil prices after EIA reading suggested a biggest weekly drop in gasoline stockpile and IEA revised 2017 demand outlook higher by 1.7% to 1.6 million barrel per day. 

“Nevertheless, small caps and lower liners may face profit taking activities after an overheated trading interest recently,” HLIB said. 

On Bursa Malaysia, Far East Holdings Bhd was the top gainer, up 40 sen to RM9.50, Panasonic Manufacturing rose 30 sen to RM40 while Nestle added 28 sen to RM85.28. 

The top losers included Scientex, Globetronics and British America Tobacco.

Petronas Chemicals was one the laggards among the KLCI component stocks as its fell of five sen to RM7.40 dragging the 30-stock index down by 0.6589 points. IOI Corp shed 4 sen to RM4.60, nudging the index down by 0.4141. Genting Bhd lost 5 sen to RM9.88 pushing the index lower by 0.3164.

Among the banks, Maybank was unchanged at RM9.70, CIMB Group rose one sen to RM6.73, Public Bank gained two sen to RM20.60 while Hong Leong Bank was up eight sen to RM15.98.

Elsewhere in the region, Asian shares closed mostly lower with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.32%, the Shanghai Composite Index eased 0.17%, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.25% and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 0.42%.