KLCI pares losses, stays in negative zone as rising US virus cases, downgrade in economic projections rattles markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 25): The FBM KLCI pared some of its losses at the midday break, against the backdrop of weaker regional markets as surging US Covid-19 cases and a downgrade in global economic projections dragged sentiment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its Malaysian 2020 gross domestic product forecast to a 3.8% year-on-year contraction from the previously estimated 1.7% contraction as the Covid-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on global activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated.

Yesterday, the Department of Statistics Malaysia said Malaysia's Leading Index, which provides an early signal of the future economic direction, slumped to negative 5.5% in April 2020 from negative 3.6% in March 2020.

As at 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was down 10.11 points to 1,492.52. The index had earlier dropped to a low of 1,484.40.

Broader market sentiment was negative with 477 losers and 160 gainers, while 573 counters traded unchanged. Trading volume was 2.4 billion shares valued at RM1.19 billion.

The top losers included Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Genting Plantations Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd and Public Bank Bhd.  

The actives included AT Systematization Bhd, NetX Holdings Bhd, Kanger International Bhd, Green Packet Bhd, KNM Group Bhd, JAG Bhd, Iris Corp Bhd and VS Industry Bhd.

The gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Milux Corp Bhd, Unisem (M) Bhd, Imaspro Bhd, TIME dotCom Bhd, Cypark Resources Bhd, SHL Consolidated Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd and Ipmuda Bhd.

Reuters said Asia's stock markets slipped, bonds rose and the US dollar was firm today as surging US Covid-19 cases, global trade tensions and an IMF downgrade to economic projections knocked confidence in a recovery.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7%, Tokyo's Nikkei slumped 1.4% and Australia's ASX 200 tumbled 1.8%. US stock futures also declined 0.7% following an overnight slide on Wall Street, it said.

Kenanga Research said Asian stocks ended mixed yesterday, as investors were concerned about the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in US.

It said back home, the FBM KLCI dropped by 4.41 points (-0.29%) to finish at 1,502.63.

"Following the formation of a 'Golden Cross', the index managed to close the gap that was opened during the mid-March market meltdown, which sees it now trading above all of its key-SMAs.

"On the chart, our support levels are identified at 1,450 (S1) and 1,410 (S2).

"On the upside, our resistance levels are at 1,530 (R1) and 1,590 (R2)," it said.