KLCI holds firm above 1,650 as regional markets retreat

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The FBM KLCI appeared to be holding its ground with a less than 1% decline so far today, making it one of the better performers against broader market indices, after fears of a more widespread global downturn heightened last week.

At 11.06am, the benchmark index was down 0.88% to 1,652 points, little changed from its opening of 1,652.14 points.

In comparison, the major Asian indices were floundering in a sea of red. Stocks in Japan suffered heavily as the Nikkei 225 hit its five-week low after falling 3.22%. South Korea's Kospi declined 1.69%.

And in China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index was 1.03% lower, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index was still down 1.88%.

Back home, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd was the largest decliner among component stocks, dragging the transportation index down by 1.34%. At the time of writing, MAHB shares sank further to RM7.31, down 4.94%.

All sub-indices on Bursa Malaysia declined. The FBM Small Cap Index was down 0.82%, while the telecommunication index was 1.2% lower, mainly as Maxis Bhd shares fell 3.78% to RM5.35.

A total of 1.09 billion shares worth RM551.64 million were traded in a negative market breadth, where losers outnumbered gainers at 533 to 142, while 282 counters traded unchanged.

On the currency front, the ringgit was 0.14% lower as it traded at 4.0700 against the greenback, compared with Friday's close of 4.0645.

Investors dumped shares on Monday as concerns about the health of the world economy heightened last week after cautious remarks by the US Federal Reserve sent 10-year treasury yields to the lowest since early 2018, Reuters reported.

On Friday, all three major US stock indices registered their biggest one-day percentage losses since Jan 3 with the Dow sliding 1.8%, the S&P 500 falling 1.9% and the Nasdaq dropping 2.5%.