FBM KLCI set to close lower for third straight day

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI slipped into the red at midday as it was poised to record a third straight day of decline.

This comes at odds with a bullish performance in key regional markets, which have been buoyed by optimism over easing inflation and slower interest rate hikes.

At 12.30pm, Malaysia's key index dropped 3.95 points to 1,494.44 as it stayed within a narrow consolidation trading channel.

However, the overall market breadth remained positive with 453 gainers compared with 370 decliners.

Trading volume was 2.81 billion shares valued at RM1.2bil.

Bursa Malaysia failed to gain ground on Friday despite US gross domestic growth pointing towards resilience in the US economy.

In contrast, the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan rose more than half a percent to a nine-month high of 562.1.

Japan's Nikkei was mildly higher at 27,369 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7% to 2,483.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng, which opened to a strong performance yesterday, was little changed at 22,555.

Meanwhile, Australia's ASX200 reopened after a national holiday to gain 0.4% to 7,496.

Consumer retail stocks remained a favourite of investors during the festive year-end period, with Heineken chalking up 74 sen to RM27.42, F&N gaining 38 sen to RM34.38 and Carlsberg adding 24 sen to RM23.42.

Blue chips however were more subdued as foreign investors picked rallies in larger equity markets. Decliners included Maxis down eight sen to RM4, PETRONAS Gas sliding 12 sen to RM16.94, Public Bank down three sen to RM4.25 and Hong Leong Bank falling 14 sen to RM20.74.

Top actives included MMAG up 0.5 sen to 2.5 sen, ATA IMS surging 8.5 sen to 48 sen and Aimflex gaining one sen to 17.5 sen.

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