KLCI falls below 1,600 as it tracks regional markets lower

KLCI falls below 1,600 as it tracks regional markets lower
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 6): The FBM KLCI closed below the 1,600 level today, after being in the negative territory throughout the trading session in line with weaker regional markets.

The benchmark index closed 16.38 points or 1.02% lower at 1,591.97 after touching an intraday low of 1,586.25.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd research head Imran Yassin Yusof said market sentiment was weak as Fitch Ratings had turned negative in its outlook for the banking sector, while political uncertainties in Malaysia also cast a shadow on the market.

“I expect the volatility to continue. Things can turn quite quickly at the moment,” he told theedgemarkets.com.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd's research head Kenny Yee opined that the market was consolidating possibly for the next uptrend.

“I think there will be some buying soon especially when the KLCI hits 1,580,” he said when contacted

On the broader market, 965 counters finished lower versus 287 gainers, while 386 others were unchanged.

A total of 7.73 billion securities were traded at a value of RM4.4 billion, compared with 6.25 billion securities worth RM4 billion yesterday.

Index-linked banking stocks were under selling pressure today, with Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG), Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB), Public Bank Bhd among the top losers.

HLFG declined 54 sen or 2.96% to RM17.70, HLB fell 26 sen or 1.44% to RM17.84, while Public Bank tumbled 28 sen or 1.36% to RM20.34.

Meanwhile, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd slipped 14 sen or 3.26% to RM4.16 and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) went down 0.84% or 7 sen to RM8.24.

Fitch Ratings said in a note today that the outlook for Malaysian banks was “negative”, while the sector outlook was “stable”. It also said the key issues for Malaysian banks were slow non-performing loan recognition, lower profitability and property market risks.

Other heavyweights that dragged the KLCI down included Genting Bhd (down 14 sen or 3.11% to RM4.36), Genting Malaysia Bhd (down 3 sen or 1.13% to RM2.62), and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (down 12 sen or 1.14% to RM10.42).

The healthcare index was the only KLCI index that closed higher. It climbed 1.21% to 3,485.47 points.

Among glove stocks, Top Glove Corp Bhd rose 4 sen or 0.7% to RM5.76 and Supermax Corp Bhd climbed 3 sen or 0.51% to RM5.89.

Regional markets were mostly down today.

Reuters reported that Indonesian shares led declines in Asian stock markets on new Covid-19 restrictions.

The Jakarta Composite Index closed 1.17% lower at 6,065.68. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.75% lower at 2,968.21, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.38% lower at 27,055.94.

S Kanagaraju