Bursa cautious ahead of GDP data, eye on US-China trade talks

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia was cautious in early Thursday trade ahead of the release of the 2018 GDP data at midday and investors stayed on the sidelines awaiting fresh developments in the US-China trade talks.

At 9.15am, the KLCI was up just 0.21 of a point to 1,685.51. Turnover was 266.85 million shares valued at RM87.92mil. There were 182 gainers, 122 losers and 191 counters unchanged.

Kenanga Investment Research maintained its neutral outlook on the KLCI as it remains above the 20 and 50 day-SMAs but other momentum indicators are starting to show signs of slowing down. 

“A positive outcome from the trade talk could see the index trend higher to its resistances at 1,730 (R1) and 1,800 (R2). Should the index break below both the 20 and 50-day SMA, support levels can be identified at 1,650 (S1) and 1,600 (S2),” it said.

China and the US began high level trade talks in Beijing. The talks are being led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and will end on Friday,  state news agency Xinhua said in a brief report, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 10 cents to US$53.76 per barrel at 2338 GMT. 

Petronas Dagangan added 26 sen to RM26.38 with just 100 shares done. KNM was the most active, up 1.5 sen to RM10.5 sen with 41.15 million shares done after it secured a RM26.38mil contract. Dayang added three sen to 80 sen, riding on the firmer crude oil prices.

F&N rose 48 sen to RM33.76, BAT 18 sen to RM36.50 while HL Bank gained eight sen to RM21.04 and IHH five sen to RM5.62.

CMSB added seven sen to RM3.08 and Allianz four sen to RM13.56.

Scomi fell 0.5 sen to four sen after received a notice of demand for RM113.96mil from Maybank as rail unit failed to pay RM201.9mil owed to the bank.

United Plantations fell 62 sen to RM25.94, LPI 10 sen to RM16.34, MAHB five sen to RM7.89. Public Bank eased four sen to RM24.92 and AmBank three sen to RM4.43.

Mesiniaga snapped its multi-week rally after securing a RM1.9bil contract. It shed six sen to RM1.70.

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