KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 19): Trading was generally flat today as investors did not appear to be in a rush to return to the market after the three-day workweek last week. The FBM KLCI barely changed from last Friday's close, dropping 1.28 points or 0.08% to close at 1,651.71.
The benchmark index opened at a high of 1,681.87 points and quickly descended before dipping into the red just before noon. It spent the rest of the day crawling between green and red territories before closing lower, unlike most of the regional indices which benefited from investors wagering on the US Federal Reserve maintaining its interest rates this week.
Blue chips that helped to nudge the KLCI today were mainly banking and plantation stocks, such as AMMB Holdings Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, Genting Bhd, IOI Corp Bhd, and Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd.
Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com that Bursa Malaysia's overall activity was sideways, with low trading volume and value. "The market breadth (also) was negative. It was a very quiet day on the market with much of the country still in the mood for holiday and taking advantage of the long weekend."
A total of 1.15 billion shares worth RM1.44 billion were exchanged on Bursa Malaysia. There were 444 declining stocks versus 333 gainers.
Pong said investors are seeking good valuation in the regional market, which resulted in some — particularly the Philippines — facing downward pressure due to theirs being expensive. He said all signs were also pointing to Malaysia falling on the pricey side.
"There were already some liquidity trickling out of Malaysia over the past few weeks. Part of the reason is the end of the (second quarter) earnings season. With many of the corporate results being disappointing, the market doesn't see the justification to the valuation," he said.
Pong described the latest results season simply as "weak".
However, one bright spot he cited is the steel sector, which is also because it came from a low base. "There is a good chance of (steel counters) still climbing up in the coming months," he added.
The day's most active stock was Dagang NeXchange Bhd's warrant DNEX-WD. It was followed with Macquarie Capital Securities (M) Sdn Bhd's European-style call warrant on Hang Seng Index HSI-C36, and Evergreen Fibreboard Bhd.
Dutch Lady Milk Industries was the biggest gainer, but its trading volume was a mere 700. Next were Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd and Heineken Malaysia Bhd.
The biggest decliners were Time dotCom Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.
Most key regional indices closed higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.92%, China's Shanghai Composite Index was up by 0.77% while Shenzhen Composite Index appreciated by 1.06%, Korea's Kospi rose 0.82%, and Singapore's Straits Times Index went up by 0.87%.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200, however, inched down by 0.04%. Japan's market was closed today in commemoration of the Respect for the Aged Day.
Reuters reported that Asian shares advanced today as markets wagered the US Federal Reserve would skip a chance to raise rates this week, while oil bounced on talk of a deal among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries on output, and reports of fighting around Libyan oil ports.