KUALA LUMPUR: After a two-day rally last week that ensured the market ended on a positive note, the FBM KLCI opened the week in the red and stayed there, ending morning trading down 0.33%, as banking and Petronas-related stocks again led the market lower.
BIMB Securities had said in its morning note that profit-taking activities were likely today, pegging immediate support at 1,725/20.
In the broader Asian markets, sentiments were mixed but the major bourses were in negative territory, including Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore.
The Japanese market was closed for a holiday.
AFP reported that the lead from Wall Street had been negative after figures showed US wages grew by just 1.7% year-on-year in December, barely keeping up with inflation and indicating consumer spending-power remained low.
The Dow slipped 0.95%, the S&P 500 fell 0.84% and Nasdaq lost 0.68%. The news on wages also pushed the dollar down against the euro and yen.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 5.3 points to 1,727.14. Turnover was at 657 million shares valued at RM550.2mil.
Losers outnumbered gainers 308 to 261, while 260 stocks were unchanged.
Maybank, CIMB and Public Bank collectively wiped out 3.028 points from the index, as each dropped 8 sen to RM8.53, RM5.24 and RM17.48 respectively. Petronas Gas fell 40 sen and erased 1.385 points from the index, while Petronas Chemical lost 3 sen and took out 0.42 points.
TAHPS Group’s shares gained the most, climbing 50 sen to RM6.70; followed by Integra with 41 sen to RM2.72; BAT 40 sen to RM84.40, and Perak Corporation also 40 sen to RM2.71. Amway added 20 sen to RM10.70.
Petronas Gas’s 40 sen fall placed it at the head of the losers, followed by PPB with its 24 sen drop to RM14.02, MBSB 20 sen to RM2.21 and Manulife 18 sen to RM3.12.
AllianceDBS Research said its moving average analysis showed that the weekly FBM KLCI remained in downtrend.
It added that the Index was likely to trade between 1,700 and 1,770 in the coming week as both the buyers and the sellers are expected to exchange their stock positions in an attempt to win control.
“A fall below 1,700 would put pressure on the market down to the subsequent support at 1,671 (the level it was at on Dec 17, 2014),” the research house said.
In the regional markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index was down 0.6% to 3,265.67 but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.64% to 24,072.
South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.12% to 1,922.35 and Taiwan’s Taiex 0.03% to 9,212.47.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index was also down – by 0.08% to 3,335.93.
The ringgit is trading at 3.552 to the US dollar.
In the crude oil trade, both Brent and West Texas Intermediate are trading below US$50 with the former falling 77 cents to US$49.34 and the latter 71 cents to US$47.65.
Spot gold climbed US$3.19 to US$1,226.44 an ounce.
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