KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed on a softer note despite Bank Negara’s decision to retain the overnight policy rate (OPR) as investors remained wary of interest rate hike in the United States and risk of recession on a global scale.
At 5pm yesterday, the FBM KLCI slipped 5.13 points to 1,449.53 from the previous day’s closing of 1,454.66.
The key index opened 0.16 of-a-point higher at 1,454.82 and moved between 1,448.45 and 1,455.12 throughout the trading session.Market breadth was negative with losers leading gainers 451 to 402, while 406 counters were unchanged, 984 untraded and 11 others suspended.
Turnover amounted to 2.66 billion units worth RM1.94bil.
Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice-president of equity research Thong Pak Leng told Bernama that the FBM KLCI continued to trend lower after a lacklustre trading session with key regional markets mostly in negative territory.
However, he reckoned that market sentiment would improve slightly as Bank Negara maintained the OPR at 2.75%.
“On the other hand, investors should stay alert about the increasing market volatility and external uncertainties.
“As such, we expect the FBM KLCI to trend sideways with an upside bias within the 1,450 to 1,470 level towards the weekend,” he said.
Bursa Malaysia heavyweights including Sime Darby Plantation Bhd declined 17 sen to RM4.30, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd shed one sen to RM5.10, IOI Corp Bhd decreased seven sen to RM3.89, while Maxis Bhd added three sen to RM4.02.
The financial services index, meanwhile, rose 8.44 points to 16,114.00. Among banking stocks, Malayan Banking Bhd rose four sen to RM8.71, Public Bank Bhd increased two sen to RM4.13, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd decreased seven sen to RM5.50 and Hong Leong Bank Bhd eased four sen to RM20.52.
As for active counters, Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd shed six sen to 67 sen, Vinvest Capital Holdings Bhd was flat at 22.5 sen, Top Glove Corp Bhd increased four sen to 71.5 sen, while Careplus Group Bhd and BSL Corp Bhd rose 1.5 sen each to 26 sen and 13 sen respectively.
Meanwhile, the ringgit reversed losses to close higher against the dollar yesterday after the Monetary Policy Committee decided to maintain the OPR at 2.75%.
At 6pm, the local note rose to 4.5170/5200 versus the greenback compared with yesterday’s closing rate of 4.5230/5265.
Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd head of economics, market analysis and social finance Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the ringgit continued to linger on a narrow range with a slight appreciation seen during the day.“Clearly, the central bank’s decision to keep the OPR unchanged was within expectations. As such, it’s a non-event for ringgit as there is no surprise element,” he said.
He said the market’s focus would be on the United States’ non-farm payroll data on Friday and the US Consumer Price Index data next week before the Federal Open Market Committee meets from March 21-22.
The ringgit was traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.