KLCI sinks 0.95% as regional markets stumble

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): The FBM KLCI sank 0.95% at the midday break today as regional markets stumbled.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI lost 15.78 points to 1,650.88.

Losers led gainers by 454 to 128, while 457 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.36 billion shares valued at RM740.55 million.

The losers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Maxis Bhd and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, My EG Services Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd, Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd, Iris Corp Bhd and Orion IXL Bhd.

The gainers included Allianz Malaysia Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd, Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd, Amway (M) Holdings Bhd, United Malacca Bhd and Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd.

Investors ditched shares on Monday and fled to the safety of bonds while the Japanese yen hovered near a six-week high as risk assets fell out of favour on growing fears about a US recession, sending global yields plunging, according to Reuters.

US stocks futures fell, with E-minis for the S&P 500 skidding 0.5%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.4% to a one-week trough in a broad sell-off in equities in the region, it said.

Affin Hwang Capital Research said the FBM KLCI Index fell into the red but managed to claw back losses, ending the week on a positive note.

The index gained 3 points or 0.18% on Friday (March 22), closing at 1,666.66.

"The index managed to find some support around the 1,660 level. Bears tried to push prices lower during Friday's trading session but ultimately, buyers won the fight as prices closed above 1,660.

"Observe price action today as to whether the index would be able to close below the 1,660 level or remain supported above it. If prices are able to close below the 1,660 level, officially closing at a lower low, this will reaffirm the view that the index is in a new wave of downtrend.

"Anticipate the FBM KLCI Index to further soften, potentially retesting the 1,630-1,615 level," it said.