KLCI off morning's worst, trading sentiment cautious (Update)

KUALA LUMPUR: KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips fell in Tuesday morning with the FBM KLCI hitting a low of 1,688.70 before some mild buying interest of key stocks enabled it to pare some of the losses.

At midday, the FBM KLCI was down 3.54 points or 0.21% to 1,694.23. Turnover was 364.36 million shares valued at RM551.86mil. There were 161 gainers, 350 losers and 285 counters unchanged.

Bloomberg reported Asian stocks fell, headed for the biggest two-day loss in five months, and oil dropped on signs growth is losing momentum in the U.S. and China. Gold rebounded following the steepest slide in three decades.

"Industrial production rose 8.9% in March from a year earlier. That compared with the 10.1% median forecast of 37 economists and a 9.9% gain in the first two months of the year," it reported.

Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.01% to 13,274.98 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.57% to 21,648.15. Shanghai's Composite Index slipped 0.55% to 2,169.91 and South Korea's Kospi Index was flat at 1,920.45,

Taiwan's Taiex Index gained 0.19% to 7,777.94 while Singapore's Straits Times Index gained 0.18% to 3,290.40.

At Bursa Malaysia, the major decliners were BAT, United Plantations, UMW, Genting Plantations and Petronas Chemicals.

A local analyst said the FBM KLCI was dragged down by profit-taking activities of selected blue chip stocks, which was in line with the weaker performance of regional markets in general.

"Investors are remaining cautious in light of the upcoming general elections," he said.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI was weighed down by losses in BAT, which fell RM2.22 to RM62.28 and erased 1.14 points off the KLCI. Petronas Chemicals lost 12 sen to RM6.34 and wiped 1.24 points.

Crude palm oil (CPO) for third-month delivery fell RM6 to RM2,307. United Plantations lost 28 sen to RM27.70, PPB Group six sen to RM12.54 but KL Kepong gained 10 sen to RM21.74 and IOI Corp edged up one sen to RM4.98.

UMW lost 18 sen to RM13.06 and PetChem 12 sen to RM6.34 while among the telcos, Axiata fell five sen to RM6.68.

Banks were mostly lower, HL Bank was down eight sen to RM14.38, Maybank two sen to RM9.60 and HLFG four sen to RM15.26 but Public Bank gained two sen to RM16.26 and BIMB edged up eight sen to RM3.58.

Genting Malaysia added eight sen to RM3.69. TAS Offshore, climbed 4.5 sen to 42 sen after its unit secured new contracts for the sale of four vessels totalling RM160mil.

Nymex crude oil shed US$1.02 to US$87.69 per barrel. Spot gold rebounded US$17.45 to US$1,365.40 per ounce. The ringgit was quoted at 3.041 to the US dollar.

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