KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia pared most of its early losses to close marginally lower today, as uncertainty over the formation of a new government continued to weigh on market sentiment.
At 5 pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) shed 1.36 points, or 0.09 per cent, to end at its intraday high of 1,447.96 against 1,449.32 last Thursday.
The market bellwether, which opened 14.77 points lower at 1,434.55, moved in the negative territory throughout the day with focus fixed on the final outcome of negotiations among various political parties.
Selloffs during the morning session saw the FBM KLCI falling as much as 21.31 points to the day's low of 1,427.75 at one point, before shrugging off the jitters to climb steadily to recover most of the losses.
The expected downtrend saw decliners outpacing advancers on the broader market by 510 to 378, while 362 counters were unchanged, 1,082 untraded, and 48 others suspended.
Turnover swelled to 4.29 billion units worth RM2.5 billion versus 2.63 billion units valued at RM1.85 billion on Thursday last week.
An economist, who requested anonymity, said the volatility in the equities market today was quite expected given the hung parliament situation which led to some form of uncertainties, however, the market was fairly stable following a seemingly knee-jerk reaction in the early session.
"I think the country has gone through some political turbulence since 2018 along with COVID-19 shocks during 2020 and 2021.
"Therefore, the market is likely to be cautious as the political events are still unfolding. The sooner the new government can be formed, the better it will be for the market,” he told Bernama.
The deadline for political party and coalition leaders to submit their proposed coalition to form the new government and name of Prime Minister candidate, which was initially set at 2 pm today, has been extended until 2 pm tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice-president of equity research Thong Pak Leng said the local bourse managed to recoup some of its morning losses as bargain hunting emerged.
He expects local equities to experience greater volatility and uncertainty until a new government is formed.
Among heavyweights, Maybank slid two sen to RM8.54, IHH Healthcare slipped one sen to RM5.96, and Hong Leong Bank gave up four sen at RM20.62.
However, Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals edged up two sen each to RM4.33 and RM8.64 respectively, CIMB bagged 10 sen to RM5.51, while Tenaga perked up three sen to RM8.41.
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index shed 4.43 points to 10,274.81 and the FBMT 100 Index declined 5.81 points to 10,005.0.
However, the FBM Emas Shariah Index recovered 8.72 points to 10,407.49, the FBM 70 rebounded 7.44 points to 12,166.94, and the FBM ACE increased 37.58 points to 4,952.5.
Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index edged up 0.32 of-a-point to 178.92, the Energy Index perked up 3.04 points to 726.37, the Financial Services Index rose 31.98 points to 16,207.78, and the Plantation Index erased 41.06 points to 6,839.17.
The Main Market volume surged to 3.6 billion shares worth RM12.33 billion from 1.85 billion shares worth RM1.65 billion on Thursday.
Warrants turnover decreased to 322.42 million units valued at RM46.07 million from Thursday's 399.82 million units valued at RM75.64 million.
The ACE Market volume slid to 363.97 million shares worth RM121.19 million from 387.19 million shares worth RM120.68 million previously.
Consumer products and services counters accounted for 1.99 billion shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (515.38 million); construction (47.03 million); technology (383.28 million); SPAC (nil), financial services (73.92 million); property (155.75 million); plantation (16.46 million); REITs (6.13 million), closed/fund (18,500); energy (129.21 million); healthcare (98.13 million); telecommunications and media (17.13 million); transportation and logistics (30.84 million); and utilities (141.29 million).
The market was closed last Friday to enable electors to exercise their right to vote in GE15. - Bernama