KLCI retreats as TM, select blue chips drag

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 3): The FBM KLCI retreated at mid-morning today, dragged by losses at Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and other select blue chips, against the backdrop of a set of tentative regional markets.

At 10.05am, the FBM KLCI dipped 1.52 points to 1,776.61. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,782.77.

Gainers led losers by 273 to 202, while 318 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 480.33 million shares valued at RM250.41 million.

The top losers included Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, TM, Nestle (M) Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Shangri-La Hotels (M) Bhd and Microlink Solutions Bhd.

The actives included Iris Corp Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Vivocom International Holdings Bhd, Taliworks Corp Bhd and NetX Holdings Bhd.

The gainers included United Plantations Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, BLD Plantation Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, APM Automotive Holdings Bhd and Can-One Bhd.

Asian stocks were steady on Friday, with gains from the tech-led rise on Wall Street capped by the latest exchange of trade threats between Beijing and Washington, while safe-haven flows lifted the US dollar to a two-week high, according to Reuters.

Investors also remain cautious ahead of the July US jobs report due later on Friday, which will give a reading on the health of the world's largest economy and possible clues about the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate rises, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders' brief said despite all the concerns on trade fears, investors continued to scoop up shares with decent quarterly earnings such as Apple and Tesla, looking beyond a potential trade war, at least for the near term.

"Hence, we believe the Dow may be supported above 25,000 led by the recovery in stocks with stronger earnings.

"After the two-day positive inflow by the foreigners, an outflow of RM123.7 million was noted on the back of profit-taking activities in tandem with the regional markets amid resurfacing of fresh trade developments between the US and China.

"We see heightened volatility in the markets over the near term and the KLCI's upside will be capped around 1,790-1,800," it said.