KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional and Sime Darby dragged the FBM KLCI into the red at midday on Wednesday as investor confidence continued to be dampened by sustained foreign selling.
However, the KLCI was off the intra-morning low of 1,696 on some mild buying interest of Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down 0.65 of a point or 0.04% to 1,699.05. Turnover was 679.5 million shares valued at RM717.34mil. There were 323 gainers, 339 decliners and 318 counters unchanged.
The weak ringgit also weighed on sentiment as it slipped to 3.8152 from 3.8150 the previous close.
Reuters reported Asian shares were mostly higher on Wednesday on hopes that Beijing could stem the rout in its markets without damage to the economy, though caution was the watchword ahead of a policy decision from the US Federal Reserve.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen gained 0.6%t in choppy morning trade, while the Shanghai Composite .rose 0.7%.
On the Bursa Malaysia performance, analysts said given the lack of fresh catalysts and an extended selldown on Dow and renewed China fear, the KLCI was expected to engage in a prolonged range bound consolidation within the 1,685 and 1,738 band.
However, they saw good support at 1,700 and 1,685 in the near term as sentiment is expected to be boosted by news of S&P’s reaffirmation of Malaysia's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating at A-, with a "stable" outlook.
They did not expect allegations of graft involving debt-laden state fund 1MDB to impede policymaking.
At Bursa Malaysia, CIMB fell five sen to RM5.28, AmBank and HLFG lost two sen each to RM5.58 and RM5.28 but Public Bank rose four sen to RM18.82.
Crude palm oil for third-month delivery rose RM4 to RM2,135. KL Kepong rose 16 sen to RM21.74 but Sime Darby lost nine sen to RM8.42 and IOI Corp one sen to RM4.20. PPB was unchanged at RM15.
Tenaga Nasional fell 12 sen to RM12.12.
Crude oil prices continued their downward trend. US light crude oil fell 21 cents to US$47.77 and Brent fell 22 cents to US$53.08.
Sapura Kencana fell three sen to RM2.35 but PetChem rose six sen to RM6.44 and PetDag four sen to RM20.64.
Sunway Construction fell one sen to RM1.19 with the selling believed to be from retailers. It made its debut on Tuesday at an offer price of RM1.20.
On a positive note, MPI gained 23 sen to extend its gains as its earnings outlook brightened and following a positive report from analysts.
Among the consumer stocks, Dutch Lady rose 20 sen to RM46.70 and F&N added 16 sen to RM18.10.
Westports recouped nearly all its previous day’s losses to climb 18 sen to RM3.98.
Among the key regional markets,
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.10% to 20,309.40;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.05% to 24,515.80;
Shanghai’s Composite Index fell 0.21% to 3,655.27;
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.11% to 8,572.63;
South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.53% to 2,049.90;
Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.05% to 3,282.81.
Spot gold rose US$1.39 to US$1,096.86.