KLCI pares gains but remains positive as regional markets rally

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 31): The FBM KLCI pared much of its gains at the midday break on Tuesday, the final trading day of what has been a volatile first quarter of 2020, against the backdrop of firmer regional markets, as index-linked counters including Genting stocks advanced.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 0.64% or 8.55 points to 1,337.43. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,352.20. However, on a year-to-date basis, the index has lost more than 250 points.

Market breadth was positive with gainers leading losers by 494 to 116, while 407 counters traded unchanged.

Trading volume was 1.84 billion shares valued at RM1.05 billion.

The gainers included Genting Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd and Heineken Malaysia Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Sanichi Technology Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Vortex Consolidated Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd and LKL International Bhd.

The decliners included New Hoong Fatt Holdings Bhd, Genting Plantations Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Unisem (M) Bhd and MCE Holdings Bhd.

Reuters said Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday as data showed China factory activity unexpectedly expanded in March after contracting to a record low in the previous month even though the coronavirus pandemic showed few signs of abating.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52 in March from a collapse to a record low of 35.7 in February, but analysts cautioned the index might overstate the true improvement as firms could be reporting expansion after a forced stoppage, it said.

Kenanga IB Research said Asian stocks ended lower yesterday as investors reacted negatively to the continuing build-up of new cases in the US and the extension of US social distancing till April 30, which will worsen the economy.

It said back home, the FBM KLCI lost 14.21 points or 1.06% to finish at 1,328.88.

“Chart-wise, the index remains below all the key SMAs. Coupled with the bearish MACD signal, we expect the index to remain under pressure ahead.

“Nonetheless, we may see a continuation of yesterday’s intermittent technical rebound from an oversold position.

“On the chart, we have upped our support levels to 1,310 (S1) and 1,240 (S2). Conversely, the resistance levels are now set at 1,360 (R1) and 1,400 (R2),” it said.