KLCI kicks off 2019 on cautious note after dip in manufacturing data

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 2): The FBM KLCI edged up cautiously on the first trading day of 2019, tracking its regional peers, after data showed that manufacturing activity in Malaysia in December suffered the sharpest deterioration in manufacturing business conditions since the survey began six-and-a-half years ago.

The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 46.8, from 48.2 in November.

At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI added 1.49 points to 1,692.07.

The early gainers included Hong Leong Bank Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Cypark Resources Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd and Neylex (M) Bhd.

Asian shares crept cautiously higher on the first trading day of the new year as early gains in U.S. stock futures spoke of some improvement in risk appetite, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.14 percent, as E-Mini future for the S&P 500 firmed 0.5 percent and Nasdaq futures 0.7 percent. Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday, it said.

Kenanga IB Research said Asian markets mostly closed mixed on Monday in subdued last trading day of 2018, despite the mixed signals from Wall Street overnight.

It said on the local front, the FBM KLCI dipped slightly by 1.49 points or 0.09% to close at 1,690.58.

“Despite recent rallies, technical outlook still leaning towards downside bias as the index remains trading below key SMAs which also in a “Death Cross” state.

“If the benchmark index manages to swiftly take out the 1,700 (R1) level, upside potential could reach 1,750 (R2) next. Conversely, downside supports can be found at 1,615 (S1) and 1,600 (S2) further down,” it said.