KUALA LUMPUR (March 4): The FBM KLCI regained some lost ground at the midday break on Wednesday and edged up, but the broader market sentiment remained tepid in line with the cautious astmosphere at regional markets.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI gained 1.03 points to 1,822.28, after having slipped at mid-morning amidst choppy trade.
The index had earlier risen to its intra-morning high of 1,826.05.
The broader market sentiment was weaker with losers outpacing gainers by 389 to 271, while 312 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.18 billion shares valued at RM1.05 billion.
The top gainers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Guinness Anchor Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery (M) Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, SKB Shutter Corporation Bhd, Supermax Corporation Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Genting Plantations Bhd and Southern Acids Bhd.
The actively traded counters included Nexgram Holdings Bhd, Asio Bio Energy Technologies Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Wintoni Group Resources Bhd, Privasia Technologies Bhd, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd and Sanichi Technology Bhd.
The decliners included Danainfra Nasional Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd, Tasek Corporation Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd, Genting Bhd and Inari Amertron Bhd.
Asian shares and the dollar eased on Wednesday as investors grew cautious before upcoming central bank meetings and U.S. jobs data, while India's central bank surprised with its second inter-meeting rate cut this year.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down about 0.2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.8 percent to a one-week low, pulling away from recent 15-year highs.
Investors remained cautious ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls report for February, which could provide clues about the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hike.
BIMB Securities Research said that in Asia, key indexes ended mixed on Tuesday with profit taking activities in Japanese markets from recent gains while Hong Kong shares end lower, dragged down by weak mainland China stocks.
Locally, it said the FBM KLCI ended higher, gaining 0.23% to 1,821.25, lifted by plantation and gaming counters.
“Trading participation saw net selling by foreign institutions while local institutions and retail were net buyers.
“We expect the local market to trend sideways due to lack of fresh catalysts with the index hovering around 1,820-1,825,” it said.