Bursa heads towards morning low as investors digest news

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia extended its fall in the final hour of the morning session as investors digested the US Federal Reserve's recent interest rate announcement, and looked ahead to the release of Malaysia's inflation data tomorrow.

At 12.30pm, the benchmark FBM KLCI was down 7.82 points to 1,404.22, less than a point above the intra-morning low, as investors aligned their positions to bet on whether the US central bank will turn more dovish on interest rates in light of the turmoil in the global banking sector.

Bank stocks were once again under pressure as the latest rate hike could have fresh implications for the global financial sector, leading to renewed fears of contagion and instability.

Maybank dropped nine sen to RM8.46, Public Bank dropped seven sen to RM3.93, CIMB slid four sen to RM5.16 and Hong Leong Bank shed 14 sen to RM19.96.

Glove stocks meanwhile resumed a rally on the increase in average selling prices, with Top Glove seeing heavy trading volume as it rose 3.5 sen to 98.5 sen.

Sector rival Hartalega jumped seven sen to RM2.04, Kossan added five sen to RM1.35 and Supermax added three sen to 95 sen.

Careplus, also seeing active trade, gained 1.5 sen to 32 sen.

Meanwhile, F&B-related stocks on Bursa also saw buying interest with Dutch Lady rising 50 sen to RM16.50, Carlsberg gaining 32 sen to RM21.02 and F&N rising 18 sen to RM25.58.

Regionally, key markets showed a mixed result given the uncertainty over the Fed's future policy.

Japan's Nikkei dropped 0.3% to 27,385, South Korea's Kospi was flat at 2,417 and China's composite index was unchanged at 3,265.

Hong's Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8% to 19,743 and Australia's ASX200 dropped 0.7% to 6,969.

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