KLCI erases earlier gains as momentum indicators remain sluggish

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): The FBM KLCI erased its earlier gains at mid-morning today in some mildly choppy trade as key momentum indicators remained sluggish.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI shed 0.12 points to 1,684.09. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,689.61.

Gainers led losers by 276 to 166, while 325 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 767.06 million shares valued at RM283.03 million.

The decliners included Negri Sembilan Oil Palms Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd, Oriental Holdings Bhd, Mega First Corp Bhd, Transocean Holdings Bhd, SWS Capital Bhd, Mi Technovation Bhd and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd.

The actives included Dynaciate Group Bhd, Perdana Petroleum Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, JAG Bhd, Eversendai Corp Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd.

The gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Malaysia Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd, Can-One Bhd and Time dotCom Bhd.

Shares in Asia rose on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) took a more accommodative stance at its policy meeting, but concerns over slowing global growth and US-China trade talks are expected to limit gains, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5% in early trade. Australian shares were last down 0.1%, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said Wall Street may form a short-term rebound as traders focused on the Fed's dovish stance in the monetary policies, supporting equity prices.

"However, the trimming of global growth forecast is likely to dampen the treasury yields, and should the yield curve inverts; it may cap the upside of banking heavyweights and limits the upside potential on Wall Street.

"Under this uncertain environment across the region, we anticipate trading activities to slow down; the FBM KLCI could further consolidate below the 1,700.

"Sentiment on the small cap and lower liners are likely to trend sideways as investors will continue to book in profits after an overheated market last week.

"Hence, traders may look out for stocks under construction as they are bashed down earlier on, while investors may look into consumer stocks under this cautious market environment," it said.