KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI managed to halve its losses on Friday after the initial selldown to end the morning session just above the 1,750 level as investors were shifted to healthcare-related stocks, while the KLCI was further weighed by banks.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 11.02 points or 0.63% to 1,751.32, off the early low of 1,738.06. Turnover was 846.72 million valued at RM1.195bil. Decliners beat advancers six to one with 630 losers to 102 gainers while 217 were unchanged.
Market sentiment was cautious, dragged down by losses in banks as funds took profit, reflecting the worried key Asian markets.
Reuters reported Asian stocks hit a fresh 9-1/2-month low on Friday while spot gold slipped to its lowest price in nearly three years as the US Federal Reserve's plan to scale back stimulus continued to worry investors.
It said stocks fell more than 2% on Thursday, extending the previous day's sharp decline as investors fretted over the Federal Reserve's plan to begin reducing its stimulus later this year if the economy strengthens.
At Bursa Malaysia, consumer-related stocks were among the losers with BAT down RM1.10 to RM60, GAB 40 sen to RM21.76, Nestle 26 sen to RM65.54 and Carlsberg 22 sen to RM15.88.
Among banks, Maybank fell 14 sen to RM10.22, CIMB four sen to RM8.18, Public Bank six sen to RM16.90 and HLFG 14 sen to RM13.96 but RHB Cap rose two sen to RM8.62.
Crude palm oil fell RM26 to RM2436. United Plantations fell 90 sen to RM32.30, KL Kepong 24 sen to RM21.26, Sime Darby nine sen to RM9.40, PPB four sen to RM13.72 and IOI four sen to RM5.22 but FGV rose two sen to RM4.53.
PetDag fell 22 sen to RM24.90 and PetChem five sen to RM6.55.
Healthcare related stocks were the investors' favourites with KPJ up 18 sen to RM6.54 and IHH seven sen to RM4.10.
The ringgit weakened against the dollar at 3.205 from 3.0235 during the previous close.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.51% to 12,948.74;
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.46% to 20,084.80;
Shanghai's Composite Index fell 0.89% to 2,064.81;
Taiwan's Taiex fell 1.59% to 7,773.14;
South Korea's Kospi fell 1.96% to 1,814.22;
Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.74% to 3,110.18
US light crude oil rose 18 cents to US$95.31.
Brent rose 41 cents to US$102.57
Spot gold rose US$6.98 to US$1,291.95