KLCI ends lower as Bursa tech stocks rise

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 20): The FBM KLCI closed 6.93 points or 0.43% lower today at 1,588.88 on profit-taking, while Bursa Malaysia technology stocks rose among top gainers, on expectation these companies will report earnings growth.  

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed down at 1,588.88 points on profit-taking, after the index rose 7.93 points or 0.5% on Friday (Jan 17).

Today, the KLCI ended lower, led by Petronas Dagangan Bhd, followed by Axiata Group Bhd and Maxis Bhd. Across Bursa Malaysia, investors chased technology stocks including semiconductor-related KESM Industries Bhd and ViTrox Corp Bhd.

KESM closed up 50 sen or 4.85% at RM10.80 to become Bursa's top gainer.

Speaking to theedgemarkets.com, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng said technology stocks made strides today, on expectation these companies will announce earnings growth during Malaysia's corporate financial reporting season for the October-to-December quarter.

The corporate financial reporting season starts as early as January, although most companies announce their earnings in February.

“It is currently reporting season, generally this time around there is [expected to be] growth in earnings for such stocks,” Wong said today, as global investors evaluated US technology companies' earnings outlook against the US-China Phase 1 trade deal.

Reuters said reports from Netflix, Intel and Texas Instruments may hint at what is to come in the December quarterly earnings season, with some investors wary of possible danger signs that could knock Wall Street, after its latest surge to record highs.

"The S&P 500 has gotten off to a strong start in January, up 3% so far this year, fueled by a truce in the U.S.-China trade war, low interest rates and signs the economy remains healthy. Analysts on average, expect reports to show S&P 500 earnings per share fallen 0.8% in the fourth quarter, with technology earnings seen up 0.6%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

"Investors are looking beyond fourth-quarter results at what companies may say about outlooks and plans for investment in light of the recently-signed Phase 1 trade deal between Washington and Beijing. Expectations that the chip industry will soon pick up have fueled a 30% surge in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index since mid-2019," Reuters reported.