KUALA LUMPUR: The local stock exchange displayed muted trading activity in the morning session given investor caution and the lack of leads as Wall Street and Japan remained shuttered for holidays.
The region remained bearish, however, as investors opted for caution in the week ahead of a planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.
Meanwhile, commodity exporters remained under pressure as Brent crude fell 66 cents to US$61.94 a barrel while WTI crude dropped US$1.37 to US$53.26 a barrel even as the economic outlook continued to turn negative.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 2.15 points to 1,693.47. Turnover was 821.68 million shares valued at RM486.87mil. There were 508 decliners versus 184 advancers and 271 counters unchanged.
Despite the overwhelmingly bearish market breadth, stocks on the FBM KLCI saw only mild losses as trading activity slowed.
The leading decliners on the index included IHH sliding six sen to RM4.75, CIMB falling three sen to RM5.62 and Maxis dropping three sen to RM5.33.
Top gainers included IOI rising two sen to RM4.29 and Petronas Dagangan gaining four sen to RM26.88 and RHB adding two sen to RM5.18.
KESM saw the biggest slide on the broader market following disappointing earnings results announced yesterday. The counter fell RM1.31 or 12.4% to RM9.25 by midday.
Other top decliners included F&N sheding 54 sen to RM32.80 while MPI lost 34 sen to RM11.24.
Allianz picked up 40 sen to RM12.40 on its own positive earnings while Muda jumped 24 sen to RM2.12 and Heineken grew 16 sen to RM19.38.
In currencies, the ringgit was flat against the greenback at 4.1958. It slipped 0.7% against the pound sterling at 5.4043 and fell slightly against the Singapore dollar at 3.0566.