Weak opening for Bursa on negative external news

KUALA LUMPUR: The domestic market could be staring at a third straight day of losses as investors continue to sell down equities in the absence of positive catalysts.

Wall Street was negative overnight as Federal Reserve officials made hawkish comments over the future of interest rate hikes while the technology sector was weighed down by a sell-off in Google shares after an AI event.

On Bursa Malaysia, the benchmark FBM KLCI opened 0.55 points higher at 1,471.30 but dipped into the red thereafter as investors continued to sell stocks on negative momentum.

TA Securities Research said the local market may extend its drift-down given the absence of domestic upside catalysts, and concerns over global economic health during the ongoing fight against rising interest rates and inflation.

"Immediate index chart support stays at 1,460/1,450, with stronger supports at 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 said in a market commentary.

Malacca Securities Research noted that there may be continued volatility in the technology as the Nasdaq fell below the critical 12,000 level overnight.

"Investors may focus on defensive sectors such as REIT and utilities to withstand the near-term volatility. Besides, we still expect the O&G sector to stay firm amid the elevated crude oil price," it said in its morning note.

Banking stocks, which led declines in the previous session, were mixed as CIMB slid three sen to RM5.37 while Hong Leong Bank added eight sen to RM20.08, Maybank rose one sen to RM8.65 and Public Bank was unchanged at RM4.12.

IHH Healthcare, which retreated over the last two sessions on news of a massive earthquake in Turkiye, was unchanged at RM5.92. The hospital operator has since clarified that its operations in the country were unaffected by the earthquake.

BAT Malaysia dropped 42 sen to RM12.38 after announcing a net profit of RM61.73mil in the fourth quarter of 2022. The tobacco company reported a full-year net profit of RM262.52mil, which was 6.7% lower than in the previous year.

Other stocks coming under selling presure included PETRONAS Dagangan down 26 sen to RM21.94, MPI falling 10 sen to RM34.78 and MFCB shaving six sen to RM3.55

Top actively traded stocks included MyEG up 1.5 sen to 73 sen as it continues to recover from Tuesday's sell-off, Hong Seng unchanged at 20 sen and MLab up 0.5 sen to 2.5 sen.

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