KUALA LUMPUR (May 5): The FBM KLCI pared gains for a 4.32 point or 0.2% rise to 1,822.59 amid apprehensive China economic sentiment, which led to substantial losses in share markets there.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI's rise came on gains in stocks like Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.
China's Shanghai Composite fell 1.84% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 1%. Japan and South Korea markets are closed for holiday.
Reuters reported that a survey released on Monday showed China's factories suffering their fastest drop in activity in a year in April.
Surveys for Taiwan and Japan showed an index of factory activity slid below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction compared to the previous month.
Across Bursa Malaysia today, 831.9 million shares worth RM764.7 million were traded. Market gainers trailed decliners by 330 versus 344, while 296 counters were unchanged.
The top gainer was Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd while the leading decliner was Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd. The most active counter was Luster Industries Bhd.
Amid a lack of catalysts, and weaker technical indicators, analyst said the KLCI might decline further.
Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd said the KLCI was envisaged to "extend its consolidation" amid deteriorating daily and weekly technical readings.
Crucial KLCI technical support levels are now situated near 1,800 and 1,791, according to Hong Leong.
In currency markets, the ringgit weakened against the US dollar at 3.6042 and compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit appreciated to 2.6978.
The ringgit will be closely watched in anticipation of Malaysia's external trade numbers announcement this Thursday (May 7). The trade figures will offer clues on the strength of the Malaysian economy, hence, an outlook of the country's monetary policy.