REVIEW: Confidence in the recovery of the country’s economy was once again put to the test following the government’s reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO) and the less-expected declaration of a state of emergency.
The announcement of renewed movement restrictions on Monday sent Bursa Malaysia on the defensive, as investors wondered how businesses would be affected during this round of lockdowns.
However, a market free-fall was averted as the allowance for the five essential business sectors to continue operating meant that the impact to the economy would be softer than during the first MCO. Instead, the market shaved 15.64 points, a fraction of the losses recorded when the first MCO was announced, which suggested far less anxiety.
Bursa Malaysia took another hit on Tuesday as news that the King had declared a state of emergency in the country sent investors scrambling for cover. At 11am, an explanation by the Prime Minister that there would be no curfew and that state governments would continue to function as normal relaxed the frayed nerves.
Indeed, the market, which had plunged 25 points in early-morning trade, retraced nearly all its losses following the Prime Minister’s 11am televised broadcast. It was promising that the FBM KLCI managed to stay above the 1,600-point psychological level, suggesting that the prevailing optimism over an economic recovery remained intact.
Ending Tuesday’s trading just over five points lower at 1,612.04, support was building below for the market to bounce higher.
Foreign funds, which were net buyers of RM101.9mil worth of shares on Tuesday, suggested that the turn of events did not dissuade them from investing in the Malaysian market.
Bank stocks, a proxy to the country’s economy, had been badly hit over the two days of selling but bargain hunters were quick to pick up on oversold counters once the details of the MCO and Emergency Ordinance had been digested.
The rebound was also given momentum by the rise in crude oil prices, which had continued to surge amid Saudi Arabia’s production cuts and a drawdown in US inventory. With Brent crude futures topping US$57 a barrel, investors had more reason to put their faith in a recovering economy.
On Wednesday, the FBM KLCI embarked on a rally of 24.65 points, which erased the losses and returned the index above the previous week’s close of 1,636.69. Foreign net buying on the day increased to RM127.2mil.
Thursday started out promising with another intra-day rally suggesting the continuation of a rally although the market ended slightly lower at 1,635.71. On Friday, the market turned further into the red, suggesting the start of a consolidation period.
Statistics: The major index ended the week 6.18 points or 0.38% lower over the previous Friday at 1,627.01.
Total turnover for the trading week stood at 34.5 billion shares amounting to RM25.36bil compared with 57.75 billion shares worth RM31.32bil in the previous trading week.
Outlook: The consolidation pressures appear to be building on the index judging by the losses over the previous two trading sessions. Following the major announcements made earlier in the week and the relief rebound, investors are now awaiting fresh buying leads to determine trading direction.
Market turnover was also seen falling as compared to the previous week, suggesting increased caution.
In the meantime, some measure of profit-taking will take place as investors cash in on gains made during Wednesday’s rally.
Over on the technical indicators, the slow-stochastic is seen slowing in overbought conditions, suggesting that it could attempt to neutralise. The 14-day relative strength index has already made a U-turn lower amid falling momentum.
Resistance for the index can be found at 1,650 although 1,660 serves as a stiffer hurdle. A breach of this mark could see the FBM KLCI reattempting a recent high at 1,695.
To the downside, support is found at 1,620 and 1,590.