KLCI drops 0.43% as telcos, blue chips weigh

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 20): The FBM KLCI dropped 0.43% at the midday break today, weighed by index-linked blue chips and telecommunication stocks.

Amid weaker regional markets, local investor sentiment further took a beating after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in a Bloomberg TV interview said he pared back expectations for economic growth for this year to about 5% as the export-reliant nation braces for knock-on effects of a brewing trade war.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI fell 7.64 points to 1,751.60. The index had earlier dropped to its intra-morning low of 1,749.52.

Losers led gainers by 342 to 216, while 583 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.72 billion shares valued at RM1.25 billion.

The top losers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Genting Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Maxis Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Gamuda Bhd and Axiata Group Bhd.

The actives included Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd, My E.G. Services Bhd (MyEG), Nova MSC Bhd, Ekovest Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, George Kent (M) Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd.

The top gainers included Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Nova, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, MyEG and United Plantations Bhd.

Most Asian stock markets retreated on Friday after China allowed its yuan currency to slide further, stoking concerns Beijing's currency management could become the next flash point in a fierce trade conflict with the United States, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was unsteady in early trading, giving back morning gains to decline as much as 0.1% at one point. It was last up 0.08%, it said.

Kenanga IB Research said most of the Asian markets closed lower yesterday as investors are turning jittery about the trade war.

"However, on the local bourse, FBM KLCI gained 6.17 points (+0.35%), closing at 1,759.24. Broad market was also showing strength with 640 gainers against 323 decliners.

"Technically, the index outlook is positive-bias as evidenced by stronger stance on MACD and RSI indicators.

"From here, we expect a possible short breather before continuation towards next resistance at 1,790 (R1) and 1,830 (R2) further up. Meanwhile, support levels can be identified at 1,720 (S1) and 1,700 (S2)," it said.