KLCI pares gains, up 0.38% as select blue chips lift

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 18): The FBM KLCI pared some of its gains but remained 0.38% up at the midday break, in line with the rise at most regional markets.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 6.48 points to 1,687.02. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,689.42.

Losers led gainers by 304 to 282, while 501 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 2.01 billion shares valued at RM884.36 million.

The gainers included Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Amway (M) Holdings Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Atlan Holdings Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Apex Healthcare Bhd, Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd, Crest Builder Holdings Bhd and Pentamaster Corp Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, Iris Corp Bhd, Orion IXL Bhd, PUC Bhd, Destini Bhd, Priceworth International Bhd and KNM Group Bhd.

The losers included Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Eng Kah Corp Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, NPC Resources Bhd, Hap Seng Plantations Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Westports Holdings Bhd and BSL Corp Bhd.

Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday with Vietnam leading gains, as investor sentiment buoyed ahead of the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting where the policymakers were expected to remain dovish, according to Reuters.

The newswire reported that an OCBC note said, "Investors are likely to tread water today, awaiting the Fed's policy decision on Wednesday." A slew of central bank meetings in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand in the coming week have also boosted sentiment, it added.

Affin Hwang Capital Research said the FBM KLCI Index ended last week on a high note, closing 6.02 points or 0.4% higher at 1,680.54.

"To recap last week, markets fell quite significantly on the first day but subsequently clawed back losses. Essentially, the index closed flat at the end of the week.

"This week, we may see prices retest the EMA20d (20-day exponential moving average) before resuming lower. This is supported by technical indicators, namely RSI (relative strength index) & Stochastic which is hovering at oversold regions. Note that the 20-day EMA previously being a support level, now potentially may act as resistance.

"FBM KLCI Index resuming its short-term downtrend," it said.