KLCI closes slightly higher, but ends lower in first quarter due to global economic concerns

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 29): The FBM KLCI inched up 0.14% to 1,643.63 points in the final trading session of the first quarter, but it was not enough to offset the 49.1 points or 2.9% loss for the first three months as global economic concerns suppressed buying interest in the market.

CIMB Research analyst Nick Foo Mun Pang told theedgemarkets.com that the benchmark index was helped by quarter-end window dressing activities, ending marginally higher today.

“We believe investors were worried about the global economy and (US-China) trade war, and that affected sentiments [during the first quarter]. Corporate earnings were weaker than expected as well, and the rumours concerning the overnight policy rate cut did not help [performance in the quarter],” Foo said over the phone.

“In the near term, we expect a mild rebound as investors may have oversold on certain stocks, but the overall trend is still down given the series of lower-low and lower-high formation of the KLCI.”

Reuters reported that most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Friday, with Thailand leading the pack, boosted by optimism surrounding progress in the US-China trade talks. The Singapore index was on track for its first quarterly gain in four.

Reuters said sentiment was lifted following a report that China has proposed talks with the US on a range of issues, including on forced technology transfer.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.82%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.96%, and South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.59%.

On the local bourse, 2.47 billion shares were traded worth RM2.24 billion. There were 478 gainers versus 337 losers, while 427 counters remained unchanged.

Notable gainers included Gets Global Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, while losers included Public Bank Bhd and structured put warrants that track FTSE A50 China Index ETF (A50CHIN-H29).

Sapura Energy Bhd was the most actively traded counter, with 103.48 million shares done.