KLCI inches higher early Monday, ringgit dips

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips inched higher early Monday but overall the broader market was mixed, tracking the cautious key  Asian markets ahead of US President Donald Trump’s policy speech on Tuesday.

At 9.37am, the KLCI was up 1.28 points or 0.08% to 1,699.63. Turnover was 677.65 million shares valued at RM200mil. There were 210 gainers, 260 losers and 317 counters unchanged. 

The ringgit dipped against the US dollar. It was down 0.07% at 4.4400 from the previous close of 4.4370.

Markets are holding in recent broad trading ranges, and interest is turning to Trump's policy speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night where he is expected to provide clues on his plans to cut taxes, Reuters reported.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased slightly in early trade, with early Asian stock markets treading water. The index fell 0.7% on Friday, but is still up more than 11% since end-December, it said.

Maybank Investment Bank Research said the KLCI sank below the 1,700 psychological support last Friday after falling 6.13 points to close the week at 1,698.35. Sentiment in the broader market was negative with losers outpacing gainers by 530 to 358. Trading volume of 3.01 billion shares worth RM2.52bil was recorded last Friday. 

“A negative close below 1,700 implies a weaker connotation and may prolong the correction. However, downside may be capped within immediate supports at 1,685 and 1,667,” it said.

BAT was the top gainer, up 58 sen to RM49.88 but with only 100 shares done. Panasonic added 28 sen to RM32.20 and PPB Group gained 20 sen to RM16.50.

KESM was up 16 sen to RM9.80, Allianz 14 sen to  RM11.36 and Kim Hin 11 sen higher at RM2.02. Scientex added 10 sen to RM7.50.

Kawan Food fell the most, down 41 sen or nearly 10% to RM4, UliCorp lost 26 sen to RM4.22, Classic Scenic 12 sen lower at RM1.87.

Pos Malaysia fell nine sen to RM4.31 on profit taking while IHH Healthcare lost nine sen also to RM5.82 on concerns about its outlook.

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