Blue chips down in cautious trade, HL Bank, Public Bank weigh

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips fell in early Friday trade, but the drop was not as acute as the previous two days, as the selling was seen as overdone. However, Hong Leong Bank and Public Bank weighed down the FBM KLCI.

At 9.04am, the KLCI was down 2.41 points or 0.14% to 1,706.08. Turnover was 75.66 million shares valued at RM38.57mil. There were 67 gainers, 162 losers and 156 counters unchanged.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Asian shares appeared tentative on Friday, holding steady after a nine-day losing streak, but sentiment was frail after Wall Street shares crumbled and expectations of market volatility shot up to an eight-month high.

Worries about the economic impact of a China-US trade war, a spike in US bond yields this week and caution ahead of earnings seasons are all cited as potential reasons behind the selloff, the biggest market rout since February.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2% after the opening of the South Korea and Australian markets, a day after it fell 3.6% to hit 1-and-a-1/2 year low. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6%.

Kenanga Research said the KLCI’s 1.5% decline on Thursday showed the overall technical picture remains bearish as the index broke below the “head-and-shoulders” pattern.

“However, we note that yesterday’s close saw a formation resembling that of a bullish reversal ‘hammer’ pattern which could see an immediate relief-rebound, filling up yesterday’s gap-down. 

“Key levels of resistance to look at are 1,730 (R1) and 1,760 (R2). Conversely, immediate support levels can be identified at 1,700 (S1) and 1,660 (S2),” it said.

At Bursa, Hong Leong Bank fell 40 sen to RM19.90 and Public Bank 16 sen to RM24.74 while Bursa lost 12 sen to RM7.52.

MPI fell 44 sen to RM11.06, Vitrox 25 sen to RM7.65. Other decliners were Hap Seng, down 21 sen tp RM9.36, Scientex 19 sen to RM8.41.

Gamuda extended its rebound, up four sen to RM2.34. The Cabinet had set up a committee to review the underground contract that was awarded to MMC-Gamuda for the mass rapid transit 2 (MRT2).

United Plantations was the top gainer, up 30 sen to RM26.88 with 100 shares done. Genting Plantations rose 18 sen to RM9.54, KL Kepong 12 sen to RM24.80 and Sime Plantation added seven sen to RM5.31.

Ibraco added 12.5 sen to 59 sen, Tenaga 10 sen to RM14.38 and Digi six sen higher at RM4.45 while Revenue Group gained five sen to RM1.11.