KUALA LUMPUR (March 19): The FBM KLCI closed 3.26 points or 0.2% lower today, mainly on profit taking and as investors appeared cautious ahead of Malaysia's February inflation data release on Friday.
At 5pm today, the KLCI finished at its intraday low at 1,687.68 on profit taking after the index rose to its intraday high at 1,694.89. Yesterday, the index closed up 10.4 points or 0.62% at its intraday high at 1,690.94.
Today, TA Securities Holdings Bhd senior technical analyst Stephen Soo told theedgemarkets.com that the market performance was a result of profit-taking interests, which may reflect investors' disappointment from the absence of market catalysts from the two-day Invest Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 2019 conference, which started today.
"As far as the index is concerned, it is still in consolidation mode. We think it will continue to trade sideways for the remainder of the week," said Soo, adding that the KLCI's immediate support and resistance would be at 1,680 and 1,700 respectively.
The Malaysian stock market's performance is also closely watched ahead of the country's February inflation data release after January data showed prices fell into deflationary territory for the first time since November 2009.
February inflation data, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), is scheduled for release on Friday, according to the Statistics Department's website. Today, Reuters reported that Malaysian stocks pared early gains as investors exercised caution ahead of the country's February inflation data, which is expected to fall according to a Reuters poll.
It was reported that the CPI in February was forecast to fall 0.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the median estimate among 12 economists surveyed.
It was reported that in January, prices slipped into deflationary territory for the first time since November 2009, with the CPI declining 0.7 percent year-on-year amid a sharp drop in retail fuel prices.
Across Bursa Malaysia, 2.89 billion shares worth RM1.76 billion were transacted. Top decliners included Nestle (M) Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd.
Dayang closed down 24 sen or 14.81% at RM1.38. Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd had today downgraded its Dayang share recommendation to sell from buy on the belief that the market is pricing in much stronger earnings expectations, which may not be sustainable for the oil and gas support services provider.
"We advocate investors to take profit on the stock," Hong Leong analyst Sean Lim Ooi Leong wrote in a note today.