Improved regional sentiment lends support to FBM KLCI

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): The FBM KLCI went up 4.3 points or 0.23% to end the week at 1,843.92 points today, in tandem with the upward trend in the regional markets.

Across the board, gainers led decliners by 491 to 459, while 391 counters remained unchanged on Bursa Malaysia.

A total of 2.25 billion shares worth RM2.02 billion were traded today. SKH Consortium topped the chart with the most shares traded, at a total of 147.26 million shares, which brought its share price half a sen or 5.26% up, to close at its five-month high of 10 sen.

On a weekly basis, the benchmark index has closed lower for the second consecutive week. It dropped 12.15 points against last week’s closing of 1,856.05 points.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com that while the market is still volatile given the fear of a trade war, investors should not be overly concerned as there are no signs of a crisis unfolding.

“The index is still slightly above the long-term average of the KLCI, which means there has not been an overly negative correction such as a huge 10% drop,” he explained.

Since US president Donald Trump announced its plans to slap hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium which then sparked fears of a trade war, the benchmark FBM KLCI has slipped 16.94 points or 0.91%.

“The market is volatile now but it is still sentiment driven. Generally, investors are sidelining until external developments are stable, in fear that there may be further news which may affect global trade and therefore global growth. But as of now, there is no big indication of a crisis,” Wong added.

“Some of the factors such as earnings growth are still there. There is not much of a reason for investors to take profit now,” Wong said.

Top gainers were oil and gas players Petron Malaysia Refining and Marketing Bhd and Hengyuan Refining Co Bhd, besides consumer stocks Nestle (M) Bhd and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd.

Meanwhile, top decliners included plantation counters Chin Teck Plantations Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, and BLD Plantation Bhd. British American Tobacco (M) Bhd shed 76 sen or 2.77% to close at RM26.70, its lowest since end-2008.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 increased 0.47% and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.08%. In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also climbed 1.11% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite ended 0.57% higher at market close.