Bank stocks fall on speculation over further OPR cut


KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia opened the week lower, led by a fall in bank stocks as speculation over a further interest rate cut by Bank Negara weighed on sentiment in the sector.

At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI was down 10.39 points to 1,616.39.

Weighing on the index was Maybank down 10 sen to RM8.15, Public Bank dropping 28 sen to RM20.92, CIMB sliding five sen to RM4.05 and Hong Leong Bank slipping 24 sen to RM17.56.

Petronas Chemicals was also another leading laggard, having fallen 21 sen to RM7.30.

"Following the government’s decision last week to impose tighter movement restrictions to control the Covid-19 virus outbreak, which would inevitably hurt the economic fundamentals as a consequence, all eyes would now be on whether Bank Negara Malaysia would stand pat or cut interest rates further at its monetary policy committee meeting scheduled on Wednesday," said Kenanga Research in its weekly outlook.

It added that the FBM KLCI appears to be at a crossroads as it tests the 50-day simple moving average while the DMI Plus is tracking closely the DMI Minus after a mild recovery.

"For the time being, with bargain hunters and profit takers still in a tug of war, we reckon the Malaysian bourse could be stuck in a range-bound pattern with a slight negative bias.

"We maintain our key support and resistance thresholds for the FBMKLCI at 1,600 (S1) / 1,550 (S2) and 1,645 (R1) / 1,675 (R2), respectively," said Kenanga.

Meanwhile, Malacca Securities Research is turning bearish on plantations and bank heavyweights amid a retreat in crude palm oil prices and the possible reduction in ohe overnight policy rate.

However it expects some rotational play towards the building materials segment amid the firmer commodity prices such as tin, iron and aluminium.

"Furniture and technology sectors may be on traders' given the work-from-home could boost demand for furniture and technology stocks - the latter being in higher demand for technology gadgets and 5G products.

"Also the industrial products counters could trade higher for the session," it said.

At the time of writing, the top traded counters on Bursa Malaysia were PHB up 0.5 sen, XOX down one sen to 9.5 sen and PRG down 1.5 sen to to 27 sen.
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