KLCI pares loss, but sentiment turns bearish

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 23): The FBM KLCI pared some of its losses at the midday break today, but sentiment turned bearish with losers outpacing gainers.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 2.39 points to 1,720.05. The index had earlier dipped to its intra-morning low of 1,712.49.

Losers outpaced gainers by 425 to 281, while 284 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 822.54 million shares, valued at RM632.74 million.

The top losers included Danainfra Nasional Bhd, RHB Capital Bhd, Aeon Credit Services (M) Bhd, Far East Corporation Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Time Dotcom Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd and Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd.

The actives included Iris Corporation Bhd, GPA Holdings Bhd, Denko Industrial Corporation Bhd, Scanwolf Corporation Bhd and Vsolar Group Bhd.

The top gainers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd, Tahps Group Bhd, Allianz (M) Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, Top Glove Corporation Bhd, Kawan Food Bhd and APM Automotive Bhd.

Asian shares dropped sharply on Friday, after a survey of Chinese manufacturing activity was weaker than expected, while U.S. jobs data underpinned the dollar, as it bolstered bets the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to hike interest rates later this year, according to Reuters.

The flash Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 48.2, below economists' estimate for a reading of 49.7 and the lowest reading since April last year. It was the fifth straight month below 50 — the level which separates contraction from expansion, it said.

BIMB Securities Research said that on earlier trading, key regional indexes ended mostly higher yesterday, with Chinese shares having notched their sixth straight session of gains, with strong buying by Beijing-backed funds.

“Locally, the FBM KLCI ended lower, losing 0.41% to 1,722.44, dragged down by O&G and plantation counters.

“Trading participation saw net selling by foreign institutions and local retail, while local institutions were net buyers.

“We expect the FBM KLCI [to] likely to remain lacklustre, with immediate support at 1,715,” it said.