KLCI pares loss, remains in negative zone in line with regional retreat

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 20): The FBM KLCI pared some of its loss at mid-morning today but remained in the negative zone in line with the retreat at regional markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 10.25 points to 1,645.41.

The index had earlier fallen to a low of 1,630.95.

Losers led gainers by 280 to 203, while 222 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 587.09 million shares valued at RM313.37 million.

The decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Maxis Bhd, MISC Bhd, Public Bank Bhd and IHH Healthcare Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Sanichi Technology Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Berjaya Corp Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, V.S. Industry Bhd and Prestariang Bhd.

The gainers included United Plantations Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, Dialog Group Bhd, ViTrox Corp Bhd and MCE Holdings Bhd.

Asian shares retreated on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised rates, as expected, and kept most of its guidance for additional hikes next year, dashing investor hopes for a more dovish policy outlook, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.34%, with Australian shares dropping as much as 0.65% to two-year lows, the newswire said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders' brief said that in the US, recent market skittishness was largely attributed to concerns over sluggish global economic expansion, escalating US-China trade tensions and growing worries on the Fed's plan to raise interest rates despite escalating headwinds.

"Overall, Wall Street is expected to experience extended bouts of volatility as the Fed delivered a less dovish outlook overnight. Key resistances are 24,000-24,300 while supports are near 22,800-23,000.

"On the local front, sentiment is likely to remain edgy as the domestic and external headwinds should prevail.

"Rising US-China trade turmoil and a slowing global economy, coupled with subdued commodity prices that exacerbate Malaysia's persistent weak fiscal profile and the weakening corporate earnings are main drags.

"Major supports are set at 1,600-1,626 whilst resistances are near 1,665-1,678," it said.