KLCI drifts lower as Mid-East tensions weigh on regional markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 26): The FBM KLCI drifted lower at the midday break today as regional markets were weighed by escalating Middle Eastern tensions.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 1.54 points to 1,817.56. The index was earlier down at its intra-morning low of 1,815.41.

Gainers led losers by 387 to 324 while 282 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.19 billion shares valued at RM792.72 million.

The top losers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Tasco Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Globetronics Technology Bhd, Metal Reclamations Bhd and LPI Capital Bhd.

The actives included Privasia Technology Bhd, Genetec Technology Bhd, Asia Bio Energy Technologies Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd, Takaso Resources Bhd and KNM Group Bhd.

The top gainers included Super Enterprise Holdings Bhd, WZ Satu Bhd, Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd, DanaInfra Nasional Bhd, Can-One Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Uzma Bhd, Aeon Credit Services (M) Bhd, Tasek Corporation Bhd, Berjaya Auto Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.

Asian share markets were mostly lower on Thursday as tensions in the Middle East and losses on Wall Street soured sentiment, while the dollar's bull run looked to have stalled for the time being, according to Reuters.

Risk appetite took a knock from news Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies had launched air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden, it said.

Maybank IB head of retail research and chief chartist Lee Cheng Hooi in a note to clients today said that the FBM KLCI advanced 5.06 points to 1,819.10 yesterday, while the FBMEMAS and FBM100 also closed higher by 22.71 points and 19.54 points, respectively.

He said that in terms of market breadth, the gainer-to-loser ratio was 449-to-391 while 298 counters were unchanged, adding that a total of 2.04 billion shares were traded valued at RM2.12 billion.

“We recommend a 'Range Trading' stance for the index. The KLCI Mar Futures moved into 1.10-point discount against the FBMKLCI. We expect some buying at the supports of 1,797 to 1,819, whilst heavy liquidation activities may cap rebounds at the resistances of 1,823 and 1,845.

“The index was volatile after heavy foreign selling emerged in Nov and it plunged to a fresh low of 1,671.82 on Dec 17. The rebound from the 1,671.82 low stalled at 1,831.41 (Feb 4).

“In view of the volatile DJIA trend at lofty levels, it will be very wise to trade the FBM KLCI between the stipulated support of 1,774 and resistance of 1,831,” he said.