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Tech stocks shine amid broader market pullback

KUALA LUMPUR: The local tech sector shone brightly on a day where investor sentiment was dampened by news that the Chinese economy had grown less than expected in the third quarter, sending regional equities lower.

Bursa Malaysia's technology index bounced off the 14-day simple moving average to rise 1.6% in the morning session, erasing losses from the previous session and renewing hopes of a sustained rally.

Stocks seeing buying interest included MPI climbing 20 sen to RM10.60, KESM jumping 15 sen to RM7.70, Globetronics rising 13 sen to RM2.25 and Unisem rising nine sen to RM2.67.

Kenanga research said in a note it was maintaining its overweight stance on the sector as sales in the regional automotive sector showed signs of recovery.

"Overall, with a turn in the tide for the technology sector, we opine it is time to revisit. Our top pick: MPI (OP; TP: RM12.10)," it said.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was 3.53 points lower at 1,570.97. Trading volume on the stock exchange was 1.58 billion shares valued at RM872.79mil, There were 344 decliners versus 324 gainers and 363 counters unchanged.

Blue chips on the decline included IHH Healthcare, falling six sen to RM5.68, IOI dropping eight sen to RM4.32 and Sime Darby Plantation sliding six sen to RM4.81.

Bank stocks helped to prop up the FBM KLCI including Maybank up one sen to RM8.53, Public Bank gaining two sen to RM19.30, Hong Leong Bank rising six sen to RM16.90 and RHB climbing two sen to RM5.68.

The most heavily traded counters of the early session were KNM up 1.5 sen to 46 sen, MyEG rising three sen to RM1.28 and MTAG climbing 2.5 sen to 51 sen.

Oil prices were affected by news of the slowing Chinese growth, with WTI falling 10 cents to US$53.82 a barrel and Brent crude dropping 33 cents to US$59.58 a barrel.

In currencies, the ringgit slipped 0.1% against the greenback to 4.1820 and 0.1% against the Singapore dollar to 3.0640. It rose 0.25% against the pound sterling to 5.3718.