KLCI erases earlier loss, edges higher as select blue chips lift

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 16): The FBM KLCI erased its earlier loss and edged higher at mid-morning today, lifted by select index-linked blue chips.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI added 0.63 points to 1,845.90. The index had earlier dipped to a low of 1,838.40.

Losers led gainers by 281 to 226, while 322 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 672.47 million valued at RM286.14 million.

The gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Magni-Tech Industries Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, MNRB Holdings Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd and Favelle Favco Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, SKH Consortium Bhd, Nexgram Holdings Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd, Advance Synergy Bhd, UMW Oil & Gas Corp Bhd, Ho Wah Genting Bhd and QES Group Bhd.

The decliners included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Padini Holdings Bhd, Berjaya Food Bhd, Scicom MSC Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and Westports Holdings Bhd.

Asian stocks were on the defensive on Friday as worries over the U.S. investigation into the Trump Organization tested investor nerves, already frayed by fears U.S. tariffs could hurt the global economy and trigger a trade war, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent in early trade. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.3 percent, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders’ brief said that in the US, markets are likely to stay cautious and sideways mode under this uncertain environment as Trump's protectionist measure could trigger a potential trade war.

“Also, investors may turn sidelines ahead of the FOMC meeting (20-21 Mar).

“On the local front, after selected heavyweights were being sold down, we believe the market could shift towards small cap and lower liners over the near term.

“However, investors may be waiting for more certainty from the political scene on parliament dissolution and GE14 polling dates, resulting in a sideways market,” it said.