KLCI falls as investors take profit after last week’s gain

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 2): The FBM KLCI fell as much as 24.81 points or 1.38% to an intra-day low of 1,772 points today, as investors take profit after the index climbed for three consecutive days last week.

At 5pm, the benchmark index pared some losses and closed at 1,782.70 points, still down 14.11 points or 0.79% from Friday (Dec 29)'s close.

When contacted, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior research analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that local trading sentiment was also affected by softer Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which contracted to 49.9 points in December 2017, as business conditions in the sector broadly stagnated.

“The KLCI was trading in the negative territory throughout the entire trading session today, as it erased most of its previous [week's] gains. Weaknesses were mainly due to soft manufacturing data, coupled with the quick-profit taking, following three consecutive days of gain,” Leong said.

“This week, we might see further profit taking, but it would be mild. But any minor pullback will be healthy for KLCI. Investors may need some time to digest earlier gains,” Leong added.

Nonetheless, market breadth was largely positive today, with 530 gainers versus 490 losers, while 327 counters remained unchanged.

Total trading volume in the open market was 3.7 billion shares, worth some RM2.11 billion.

Notable gainers include Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd and DRB-Hicom Bhd, while KLCC Stapled Group, SP Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd and Capitaland Malaysia Mall Trust, which gained substantially on Friday, erased most of their previous gains.

PA Resources Bhd’s warrant-B and its mother shares were the most actively-traded counters today.

In the regional market, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.08%, while Hong Kong Hang Seng Index gained 1.99%, along with the South Korean Kospi, which advanced 0.49%.

Reuters reported Asian shares scaled a decade peak on Tuesday, after a survey of Chinese manufacturing proved surprisingly upbeat, while the euro lurked within striking distance of its 2017 top against an ailing US dollar.

Reuters said sentiment was also helped by news North Korea had offered an olive branch to South Korea, with Kim Jong Un saying he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul.