KLCI dips as select blue chips weigh

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 2): The FBM KLCI retreated at the midday break today, against the backdrop of mild gains at most regional markets, as select blue chips dragged the local index lower.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI dipped 2.88 points to 1,860.58. The index had earlier risen to its intra-morning high of 1,864.17.

Losers led gainers by 357 to 219, while 527 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.19 billion shares valued at RM612.89 million.

The top decliners included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Ayer Holdings Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd, Enra Group Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Scientex Bhd.

The actives included SKH Consortium Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, PUC Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, Borneo Oil Bhd, Berjaya Corp Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd and UMW Oil & Gas Corp Bhd.

The gainers included Far East Holdings Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Southern Steel Bhd, Ann Joo Resources Bhd, Caely Holdings Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Grand Hoover Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd.

Asian stocks began the new quarter on Monday with mild gains following a strong performance by global equities last week, while the US dollar held steady ahead of key economic indicators, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, it said.

Affin Hwang Capital Research in a retail insights note today said Asian markets were expected to open high today as investors were digesting bullish news from China and Japan indicating strong recovery in their export and industrial production.

"For the local market, the FBM KLCI index expected to gradually edge higher on the back of stronger ringgit and firmer crude oil prices.

"Index-linked stocks and selected large quality stocks are likely to trade sideways with upward bias. Rotational play on small and mid-cap stocks expected to continue.

"The FBM KLCI Index expected to start the week low but anticipated to stage steady rally towards end of the week, buy on weakness," it said.