KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 26): Bursa Malaysia ended the morning session lower, trading in a narrow range, with mild selling of selected heavyweights weighing on the barometer index, dealers said.
At Thursday's (Jan 26) lunch break, the benchmark FBM KLCI had fallen 3.22 points to 1,496.23, from Wednesday’s closing at 1,499.45.
The market bellwether opened 2.04 points lower at 1,497.41, and moved between 1,494.03 and 1,497.74 throughout the morning session.
However, on the broader market, gainers led decliners 475 to 359, while 379 counters were unchanged, 1,020 untraded, and 37 others suspended.
Turnover amounted to 2.04 billion units worth RM954.23 million.
A dealer said the local bourse extended Wednesday's lacklustre performance, trading cautiously in negative territory throughout the morning session, failing to build on the positive momentum from the pre-Chinese New Year moves, as investors were still away for festive holidays.
Bursa bucked the regional bourses’ uptrend as Asian equities extended their gains, as traders were betting that the US Federal Reserve will soon tone down its aggressive rate hikes, she said.
On another note, she said US stocks ended flat overnight, as investors assessed the latest batch of corporate results, ahead of the release of the US' fourth quarter of 2022 gross domestic product (GDP) data later on Thursday.
“Investors are taking money out of US equities to add to their exposure in international stock markets, betting that European and emerging markets could benefit from a weaker dollar.
“Investors are now awaiting the US' GDP data to gauge for further market direction," she added.
Regionally, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.73% to 22,426.13, South Korea’s Kospi increased 0.86% to 2,449.43, and Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.43% to 3,367.26, but Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.31% to 27,310.67.
Back home, Bursa heavyweights Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) lost three sen to RM8.78 a share, Tenaga Nasional Bhd shed three sen to RM9.48, Public Bank Bhd dropped one sen to RM4.28, and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd eased one sen to RM5.77, while Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd was flat at RM8.50.
As for the actives, ATA IMS Bhd gained 6.5 sen to 36 sen, Dataprep Holdings Bhd at 27 sen, Ta Win Holdings Bhd at seven sen and Talam Transform Bhd at 2.5 sen had edged up half a sen each, while Velesto Energy Bhd eased half a sen to 21.5 sen.
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index improved by 0.86 of a point to 10,869.66, the FBM Emas Shariah Index bagged 12.91 points to 11,124.87, the FBM 70 Index rose 76.67 points to 13,695.56, and the FBM ACE Index advanced 22.30 points to 5,650.40.
The FBMT 100 Index trimmed by 3.78 points to 10,545.26.
Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index fell 36.73 points to 16,505.29 and the Energy Index reduced 6.55 points to 863.88, while the Plantation Index increased 20.24 points to 6,839.20, and the Industrial Products and Services Index inched up 0.46 of a point to 190.31.