KLCI down 0.32% on sustained profit-taking

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 20): The FBM KLCI fell 0.32% at mid-morning today on sustained profit-taking against the backdrop of cautious regional markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 5.42 points to 1,682.26.

Losers led gainers by 284 to 188, while 284 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 746 million shares valued at RM336.23 million.

The top losers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, JAG Bhd, Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd, Dynaciate Group Bhd, Perdana Petroleum Bhd, FGV Holdings Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd and Destini Bhd.

The gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Bina Darulaman Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Spritzer Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, ViTrox Corp Bhd, FGV and MyNews Holdings Bhd.

Asian shares got off to a cautious start on Wednesday, holding close to six-month highs on hopes the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will stick to a dovish stance and unveil a plan to stop cutting bond holdings later this year, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked down 0.1% from a six-month high touched the previous day. Japan's Nikkei was also down 0.1%, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said in the US, investors will remain cautious until more positive developments are being seen on the trade developments between the US and China.

"Also, the Fed's meeting would provide a clearer understanding on the interest rate path and economy activities moving forward. The Dow could range bound within the 25,500-26,000 over the near term under this cautious environment.

"We believe the profit-taking activities recently could be viewed as a healthy retracement phase after the short-term technical rebound and overheated market last week.

"Overall, investors will be looking out for clarity over the interest rate outlook and trade developments between the US [and] China over the near term. However, should the KLCI surge above the 1,700, next target will be at 1,730," it said.