Bursa Malaysia tumbles at open as inflation, Middle East tensions weigh

KUALA LUMPUR: A series of hot US inflation data and threat of escalating geopolitical conflict has taken the shine off global equities, sending Bursa Malaysia counters to the red as it opened for trading on Monday.

The FBM KLCI's opening mirrored the negative performance of the US stock indices, falling 5.59 points to 1,545.45, as investors continued to take profit after two days of decline.

Last Friday, the three major US stock indices pulled back 1.24-1.62% each as inflation data remained elevated and military action in the Middle East continued to escalate.

Apex Securities Research said in a note that domestic investors will be keeping a close tab on the release of US retail sales data later tonight.

"In terms of sectors, we hold a bullish outlook on commodities-related stocks, particularly for gold, crude oil, and aluminium as commodity prices remain elevated.

"Meanwhile, the technology sector may stage a pull back in line with the weakness on the Nasdaq last Friday," it said.

The fall on Malaysia's blue-chip index was broad-based although commodity plays were outliers on the rising price of crude oil and industrial metals.

PETRONAS Gas gained eight sen to RM18.10 and Press Metal added 11 sen to RM5.29.

Of laggards, Tenaga Nasional slid 16 sen to TM11.54, Kuala Lumpur Kepong dropped six sen to RM22.72 and Sime Darby Plantation fell six sen to RM4.45.

Leading the active counters, Harvest Miracle rose 0.5 sen to 12.5 sen, Dnex gained 1.5 sen to 43 sen and Bahvest slipped one sen to 59.5 sen.

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