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KLCI wavers early Wednesday as BAT, MISC weigh


KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips wavered early  Wednesday, in line with the cautious key Asian markets ahead of the release of the US inflation data while back home, the gross domestic product (GDP) data will be released in the afternoon.

At 9.40am, the FBM KLCI was down 0.45 of a point or 0.02% to 1,832.57, weighed by losses in BAT and MISC. Turnover was 230.69 million shares valued at RM127.77mil. There were 227 gainers, 174 losers and 229 counters unchanged.

 Kenanga Investment Bank Research said despite the positive display in the market on Tuesday, it remains guarded against a bullish bet as the momentum indicators still lacklustre. 

“Investors should wait for any decisive breakout from the 1,840 (R1) resistance level which will signal a more decisive advance towards 1,888 (R2). The downside support levels, however, can be found at 1,800 (S1) and 1,767 (S2),” it said.

Asian shares were set for a tense session on Wednesday as investors await readings on US inflation that could fan fears of faster rate hikes and unleash another burst of global volatility, Reuters reported.

The early inclination was to inch higher as E-Minis for the S&P 500 added 0.1% and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2%.

Japan's Nikkei bounced 0.4% to 21,327, after closing at a four-month low on Tuesday. Dealers said there was a lot of focus on the 200-day moving average at 21,031 as a break there would ring bearish alarm bells.

Oil prices were stable on Wednesday, supported by healthy economic growth and expectations that a weaker dollar could spur fuel demand, Reuters reported.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slipped two cents to US$59.17 a barrel. WTI was trading above $65 in early February.

Brent crude futures were at US$62.77 per barrel, up 5 cents from their last close. Brent was above US$70 a barrel earlier this month.

At Bursa, BAT fell RM1.74 to RM31.14 after posting a set of weaker earnings. 

Kenanga Research downgraded British American Tobacco (M) Bhd to market perform with a lower target price of RM33.85 as it believes the reintroduction of the Rothmans brand many not lead to a meaningful recovery in earnings.

MISC lost eight sen to RM7. MISC’s FY17 core net profit was 3% below CIMB Equities Research’s forecast and consensus, due to a US$22mil impairment on trade receivables of its Yemen LNG contract in 4Q17.

KLCC fell 16 sen to RM7.74 and MSM 12 sen to RM3.90. Heineken and QL Resources lost six sen each to RM20.30 and RM4.75. 

F&N was the top gainer, up 42 sen to RM30.24 while Nestle added 20 sen to RM117. 

MAHB staged a mild rebound recouping nearly half  of the previous day’s  losses, up 20 sen to RM8.60. 

Southern Steel gained 30 sen to RM2.30 following the strong set of earnings while HL Industries added 18 sen to RM10.18.

Top Glove rose 19 sen to RM9.22 and Hartalega 14 sen to RM11.48.

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