KLCI pares gains as regional sentiment stays muted

KLCI pares gains as regional sentiment stays muted
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 18): The main index of Bursa Malaysia pared some of its gains in the mid-morning as regional sentiment remained muted.

At 10.03am, the FBM KLCI was up 3.16 points at 1,598.45. The index earlier rose to a high of 1,599.31.

Losers overtook gainers by 523 to 409, while 376 counters traded unchanged. Trading volume was 2.99 billion shares valued at RM1.27 billion.

The top gainers included Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, MR DIY Group (M) Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG), Dataprep Holdings Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Yinson Holdings Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PetDag) and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

The actively traded stocks included Velesto Energy Bhd, Alam Maritim Resources Bhd, Dataprep, KNM Group Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd, Dagang NeXchange Bhd (DNeX) and Sapura Energy Bhd.

The decliners included Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, UWC Bhd, Genetec Technology Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd and ViTrox Corp Bhd.

Bloomberg said Asian stocks drifted after a mixed US session as investors weighed strong retail sales against concerns about inflation. Treasury yields steadied after pulling back from a one-year high.

Inter-Pacific Research Sdn Bhd said index-linked stocks continued to lose steam after their recent rally with the key index slipping back below the 1,600-point level yesterday amid increased profit taking on banking stocks.

In its daily bulletin today, the research house said the selling was also in tandem with a similar trend among regional peers following their recent rally.

It said in line with the pullback among the heavyweights, many lower liners also retreated as they also succumbed to profit taking and selling into strength to leave market breadth on the negative side for the day.

“We expected the market’s uptick to continue amid improving market sentiments with Covid-19 vaccine availability, but yesterday’s profit-taking spell was quick to materialise to leave the key index at the crossroads again.

“Nevertheless, we think the consolidation is likely to be mild and the market should be able to quickly regain its upper hand as pandemic conditions looks to ease further, increasing hopes for a firmer economic recovery ahead.

“There could still be some hesitation, but we think this should quickly pass and give way to renewed bargain hunting that could lift the key index back above the 1,600 [level] again.

“Beyond that, the KLCI’s hurdles are at the 1,605-1,610 levels, followed by the 1,620 level. The support [levels], meanwhile, are at 1,590 and 1,580 points respectively,” it said.