KLCI pares loss, stays above 1,720

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 21): The FBM KLCI drifted lower at the midday break today, dragged by select index-linked blue chips against the backdrop of steady regional markets.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI shed 2.24 points to 1,723.94. The index had earlier slipped to a low of 1,719.67.

Losers led gainers by 446 to 348, while 359 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 2.04 billion shares valued at RM1.24 billion.

The top losers included Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, IOI Corp Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd, JAG Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Econpile Holdings Bhd and Ekovest Bhd.

The gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Batu Kawan Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, United Plantations Bhd and Genting Plantations Bhd.

Asian shares held near 4½-month highs on Thursday after US Federal Reserve minutes affirmed it would be "patient" on interest rate rises and risk assets got a lift from hopes of further progress in US-China trade talks, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was steady in early trade, hovering just off its highest since early October, the newswire said.

Affin Hwang Capital Research said the FBM KLCI Index continued its strong momentum yesterday, gaining 19.62 points or 1.15%.

"The strong buying interests seen in the market the past two days confirms a short-term reversal upwards is currently in play. Next area of resistance: 1,725-1,745 level.

"Anticipate the FBM KLCI Index to trade sideways in the near term," it said.