KLCI remains below 1,700 level on lack of fresh catalysts

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 5): The FBM KLCI remained below the psychologically important 1,700-point level at the midday break as local sentiment remained tepid amid a lack of fresh catalysts against the backdrop of weaker regional markets.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI dipped 4.62 points to 1,689.37. The index had earlier slipped to its intra-morning low of 1,682.19.

Losers led gainers by 308 to 241, while 512 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.49 billion shares valued at RM888.44 million.

The top losers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Scientex Bhd, Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd, MBM Resources Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd, IFCA MSC Bhd, My EG Services Bhd and Prestariang Bhd.

The gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Batu Kawan Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Coastal Contracts Bhd, Teck Guan Perdana Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd, Harn Len Corp Bhd, Merge Energy Bhd and Aturmaju Resources Bhd.

Asian shares stepped back on Tuesday, weighed by US growth concerns and as China cut its economic expansion target amid growing challenges from rising debt and a dispute over trade and technology with the United States, according to Reuters.

Beijing lowered the growth target for this year to 6% to 6.5%, as expected, from around 6.5% last year and offered more stimulus, including cuts in taxes and social security fees, increases in infrastructure investment and lending to small firms, the newswire said.

Affin Hwang Capital Research said the FBM KLCI Index continued to drop, shedding 6.77 points or 0.4% in yesterday's session. The index is now at a five-day losing streak.

It said the index closed at 1,693.99, falling below the 1700-point level for the first time in almost two weeks.

"Looking at the daily chart, prices have broken below all of the EMAs (exponential moving averages) which is not a positive sign. If markets breach below the 1,665-1,680 level in the near future, sentiments likely to switch towards the downside. Next support calculated to be around the 1,630 area.

"Pullback by the FBM KLCI Index currently in progress," it said.