Bursa investors take to the sidelines following US recession warning

KUALA LUMPUR: There was continued uncertainty on the domestic market as Wall Street recorded steep losses amid comments from leading US bankers that triggered fears of a recession.

At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI was up 0.3 points to 1,471.85 after spending the opening minutes slightly in the red.

There were 187 decliners compared with 114 gainers, indicating weakness over the broader market.

Trading volume was 149.3 million shares valued at RM55.29mil.

Overnight, corporate leaders of banking giants including JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said they are bracing for a recession in the coming year, although the contraction could be mild.

"Given the selldown on Wall Street, the technology sector may see selling activities returning, while the falling Brent oil price could limit the upside potential in the O&G sector.

"However, we like consumer stocks for its defensive characteristic and traders may look at selected stocks under the medical and building material sectors as the momentum is building up," said Malacca Securities Research in its morning note.

Bank stocks were lower as investors worried over a weaker economic outlook. Maybank dropped three sen to RM8.58, Public Bank slid two sen to RM4.43, CIMB shed one sen to RM5.56 and Hong Leong Bank lost 12 sen to RM20.38.

In telcos, Axiata dropped three sen to RM3.06, Maxis slipped two sen to RM3.86 ad Digi fell one sen to RM3.79.

PETRONAS Chemicals was down six sen to RM8.50 while PETRONAS Gas dipped two sen to RM16.78.

Technology stocks were seen tracking lower following the dour economic forecast and subsequent drop in the Nasdaq index.

MPI fell 16 sen to RM29.24, Vitrox shed seven sen to RM7.60, Pentamaster slid seven sen to RM4.58 and Inari lost six sen to RM2.71.

Among top actives, BCM Alliance was up one sen to three sen, Infomina rose two sen to RM1.09 and Dataprep was flat at 31 sen.

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