KLCI dips 0.31% on profit taking, stays firmly above 1,700 level

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 21): The FBM KLCI dipped 0.31% but remained firmly above the 1,700-point level at mid-morning today, as profit taking on select blue chips dragged the benchmark index while regional markets held steady.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 5.38 points to 1,720.80.

Losers led gainers by 362 to 205, while 309 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.04 billion shares valued at RM495.24 million.

The top losers included Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Perusahaan Sadur Timah Malaysia (Perstima) Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, UEM Edgenta Bhd, Mi Technovation Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, JAG Bhd, Eduspec Holdings Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd, Inix Technologies Holdings Bhd and Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd.

The gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Batu Kawan Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Genting Plantations Bhd and Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd.

Asian shares held near 4½-month highs on Thursday after US Federal Reserve (Fed) minutes affirmed it would be "patient" on interest rate rises and risk assets got a lift from hopes of further progress in US-China trade talks, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was steady in early trade, hovering just off its highest since early October, the newswire said.

Hong Leong IB Research said although the Fed's dovish view has boosted the stock markets higher, the Fed highlighted the downside risks to the economy, anticipating "the possibilities of a sharper-than-expected slowdown in global economic growth" and it may limit the upside move on the markets over the near term.

"As the Dow is trading near the 26,000 psychological level, investors may be looking for profit-taking opportunities at this juncture," it said.

On the FBM KLCI, the research house said without any negative news headlines and catalysts in the markets, it expects the buying support to extend this week at a slower pace ahead of the peak reporting season next week and upside could be limited as short-term traders would be taking profits off the table after an overheated buying activity yesterday.

"The KLCI's immediate resistance will be pegged around 1,730," it said.