KLCI pares loss, remains negative amid red sea at regional markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 21): The FBM KLCI pared some its loss but was still down 0.17%, tracking the weak regional markets hit by weak global economic outlook.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 2.82 points to 1,647.74. The index had earlier slipped to a low of 1,642.79.

Losers led gainers by 287 to 138, while 213 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 382.76 million shares valued at RM163.29 million.

The top losers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Ayer Holdings Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Dialog Group Bhd and Genting Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd, Prestariang Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd and Vivocom International Holdings Bhd.

The gainers included United Plantations Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Amway (M) Holdings Bhd, Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd, Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd and Tong Herr Resources Bhd.

Global stocks were sailing into Christmas on a sea of red on Friday as the threat of a US government shutdown and of further hikes in US borrowing costs inflamed investor unease over the economic outlook, according to Reuters.

The S&P 500 was heading for its worst quarter since the dark days of late 2008, with a loss of 15% so far. The Nasdaq has shed 19.5% from its August peak, just shy of confirming a bear market, the newswire said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders' brief said in the US, downside risk may persist after digesting the US Federal Reserve's move on the interest rates hike and potential of two more hikes in 2019 (more hawkish than expected) and softer economic expansion moving forward.

"Moreover, should there be any resurfacing of unsettled trade development news in the media, it may dampen stock markets and market volatility could increase as the major indexes are almost traded in the bear market territories.

"On the local front, we expect the spillover of negative trading tone from Wall Street overnight.

"Also, with the Brent crude oil prices trading significantly below US$70 (RM292.53; Budget 2019's assumption), traders may take the opportunity to further reduce exposure within oil and gas sector.

"Nevertheless, the potential window-dressing activities that may emerge in the month of December could lend some support on KLCI, limiting the near-term downside risk around 1,620-1,630," the research house said.