KLCI down 0.3% as Tenaga, Maybank drag

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): The FBM KLCI fell 0.3% at mid-morning today as key heavyweights Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) dragged the benchmark index, against the backdrop of cautious regional markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI fell 4.95 points to 1,624.51.

Losers led gainers by 367 to 115, while 289 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 765.56 million shares valued at RM295.89 million.

The top losers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Tenaga, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Maybank, FACB Industries Incorporated Bhd, Can-One Bhd and YNH Property Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, Key ASIC Bhd, Sterling Progress Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd and Orion IXL Bhd.

The gainers included Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Pharmaniaga Bhd, Tasek Corp Bhd, Oriental Holdings Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Toyo Ink Group Bhd and LPI Capital Bhd.

Asian share markets got off to a guarded start on Wednesday as investors waited anxiously for a raft of Chinese data that might show policy stimulus is finally gaining traction in the world's second-largest economy, according to Reuters.

The main mover of the morning was the New Zealand dollar which dived after a weak reading on consumer price inflation stoked expectations for a cut in interest rates, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said that in the US, the market sentiment will be driven mainly by the ongoing US corporate earnings season and market participants will be on a lookout for outlook guidance for 2Q19 onwards.

"Hence, should there be any negative management guidance in US corporates, it may [keep] a lid on Wall Street performances. At the same time, the uncertain progress on the US-China trade front is likely to dampen sentiment on Wall Street.

"We believe sentiment on the local front could remain cautious as market participants are selling on news following the revival of ECRL (East Coast Rail Link).

"Meanwhile, Tun [Dr] Mahathir [Mohamad's] comment that 'Malaysia does not need a high-speed-rail for now' may further pressure the recent rally on construction stocks. The FBM KLCI's upside could be capped along 1,647-1,650 over the near term," the research firm said.