KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips fell in the morning session on Monday, dragged down by selling of IHH Healthcare and Petronas Chemicals, while key Asian markets put up a mixed performance.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 2.79 points or 0.17% to 1,608.04. Turnover was 325.88 million shares valued at RM465.87mil. There were 218 gainers, 286 losers and 281 stocks unchanged.
Analysts said the weaker support areas for the FBM KLCI are in the 1,554 to 1,590 zone.
Maybank KE Research said as Malaysia prepares for General Elections, political uncertainty could cause investors to adopt a risk-off approach.
Reuters reported Asian shares and the euro rose on Monday as further signs of a stabilising Chinese economy boosted investor risk appetite, offsetting worries that stagnant US budget talks could threaten to derail the world's largest economy.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.54% to 9,497.37; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.14% to 22,060.75; South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.3% to 1,938.67 and Singapore's Straits Times Index 0.2% higher at 3,076.18.
However, Shanghai's Composite Index fell 0.28% to 1,974.62 and Taiwan's Taiex shed 0.04% to 7,576.94.
US light crude oil climbed 24 cents to US$89.15 and Brent 33 cents higher at US$111.61. Spot gold rose US$4.97 to US$1,719.95.
The ringgit was weaker against the US dollar at 3.0406 versus the previous close of 3.0394.
Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM8 to RM2,378.
At Bursa Malaysia, IHH Healthcare dragged the KLCI down 1.72 points. IHH gave up nearly all its last Friday's gains, falling 23 sen to RM3.25 with 2.66 million shares done.
Petronas Chemicals fell the most among the index-linked counters, down 16 sen to RM5.79. The decline wiped out 1.59 points of the KLCI.
Allianz-PA and Allianz were among the major decliners, after the recent run-up. Allianz-PA fell 25 sen to RM6.90 and Alllianz 20 sen to RM5.79. Reinsurer MNRB lost 21 sen to RM2.79.
Among plantations, Batu Kawan fell 14 sen to RM17.66 and Kretam 10 sen lower at RM2.02. Sarawak Plantations added 27 sen to RM2.90
Among consumer stocks, F&N fell 12 sen to RM18.40. However, BAT was the top gainer, adding RM1.04 to RM54.24, Dutch Lady 40 sen to RM46.70.
Tiger was the most active with 33.70 million shares done, falling six sen to 35.5 sen. Its warrants lost 2.5 sen to 25.5 sen.
Astro rose three sen to RM2.90 and Astro-CW call warrants 0.5 sen higher at three sen.
Tradewinds added 23 sen to RM7.03 and KLCCP 21 sen to RM5.96 while UMW added 18 sen to RM10.80 and UMW-CI 15 sen to 45 sen.