Profit-taking on Bursa on softer appetite for global equities

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia succumbed to profit-taking as investor sentiment in global markets ebbed amid diminished expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by the first half of the year.

Investors are practising caution ahead of the release of the minutes of the Fed's most recent Open Market Committee meeting, which should offer clues as to which way policymakers are leaning.

At 12.30pm, the benchmark FBM KLCI was down 5.84 points to 1,549.75 in a broadly negative market of 582 decliners compared to 314 gainers and 433 unchanged.

The trading volume was 1.97 billion shares changing hands for RM1.24bil.

Among telcos, Axiata shaved nine sen to RM2.80, CelcomDigi slid 10 sen to RM4.27 and Maxis fell five sen to RM3.81.

Tenaga dropped 12 sen to RM11.24 and PETRONAS Chemicals lost six sen to RM7.03.

Meanwhile, top actives included Hong Seng up 0.5 sen to 2.5 sen, MMAG unchanged at 11 sen and Dialog down one sen to RM2.19.

In China, trading sentiment finally improved after investors digested news of the recent cut to the benchmark mortgage rate. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.7% to 2,972 while the blue-chip CSI300 gained 1.8% to 3,472.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 3% to 16,735 amid best the government will removed more curbs on property developers to bolster the ailing sector.

Japan's Nikkei fell 0.3% to 38,234 while South Korea's Kospi slid 0.4% to 2,647.

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