Rebound picks up speed in tech sector

KUALA LUMPUR: A rebound in the fortunes of global technology stocks is creating a stir on the domestic market as investors pick up the shares of battered-down chipmakers and other tech-related players.

At the start of trading, the Bursa Malaysia Technology Index was up 0.3% to 69.65, extending a rally following a 3.3% jump in the Nasdaq Index overnight.

The global technology sector is continuing a rally that began in January as investors pin their hopes on peaking inflation rates and a soft landing for the economy.

On Wednesday, there was a shot in the arm for the bulls as the Federal Reserve struck a more dovish tone at the conclusion of its recent open market committee meeting, suggesting just a "couple" more rate hikes to go before its rate hike cycle was concluded.

Bursa Malaysia as a whole has been a beneficiary of the spillover effects from a jubilant Wall Street market but on the benchmark FBM KLCI, gains have been more muted.

The index opened at 1,490.56 on Friday, just 0.76 points higher from the previous session.

Staying cautious ahead of the peak corporate earnings period, investors have kept the index within a tight trading range of about 15 points over the course of the trading week.

Each attempt to make headway past the 1,500-point psychological level has been turned back by profit-taking, suggesting that high levels of uncertainty remain.

Malacca Securities Research said in its market commentary it believes investors will be positioning themselves for the upcoming reporting season as well as the re-tabling of Budget 2023 on Feb 24.

"We remain positive on the earnings momentum of O&G stocks, hence traders may position themselves ahead of the event," it added.

Meanwhile, TA Securities Research said in its own review it expects stocks to drift higher ahead of the weekend with expected interest rate hikes by the Bank of England and the ECB amid more clues of moderating inflation to buoy sentiment.

From a technical standpoint, it said immediate support rested at 1,460 and 1,450 while stronger supports were 1,420 and 1,400.

"Significant overhead resistance remains at 1,512, with the August high near 1,528 as stronger resistance, followed by 1,550 and 1,570 as tougher upside hurdles, it added.

Among individual counters on Friday, notable gainers included tech counters Vitrox climbing 30 sen to RM8.50 and KESM gaining 22 sen to RM7.72.

Consumer counters also remain in the spotlight with Nestle up 50 sen to RM136 and Heineken rising 42 sen to RM29.42

Top actively traded stocks were Borneo Oil unchanged at two sen, Hong Seng up 0.5 sen to 22 sen and ATA IMS rising 2.5 sen to 46 sen.

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