KLCI reverses early gains to close lower as foreign selling weighs

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 15): The FBM KLCI reversed earlier gains to end 0.01% lower, along with key Asian markets on Friday, amid foreign selling of local equities.

At 5pm, the benchmark index closed at 1,688.83, down 0.23 points from Thursday's close of 1,689.06. Earlier in the day, the FBM KLCI hit an intraday high of 1,693.85 after opening 3.23 points higher at 1,692.29.

Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.13% and South Korea's Kospi lost 1.34%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.87% and China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite declined 1.37%.

CNBC reported that major Asian stock markets closed lower on Friday, following the release of US retail data overnight, which raised concerns over a slowing American economy. Investors await developments from the ongoing US-China trade negotiations in Beijing.

Back to the local equity market, TA Securities technical analyst Steven Soo told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI had been trading sideways today, as foreign selling pressure weighs on Malaysian blue chips.

He expects the benchmark index to continue to be range bound in the near term, pending positive catalysts that could push the KLCI through the 1,705-point resistance level.

Across Bursa Malaysia, market breadth was negative with 457 losers against 326 gainers, while 430 counters traded unchanged. A total of 3.06 billion shares were traded today, valued at RM1.99 billion.

Among the gainers are consumer-related stocks like Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd. As for losing counters, Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, IHH Healthcare Bhd and QL Resources Bhd were among the top on the list.

The most-active stocks included oil and gas-related companies Sapura Energy Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd and Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd.