KLCI stays in negative zone on worries of potential downgrade

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): The FBM KLCI remained in negative territory at mid-morning today as investors remain spooked by concerns over the potential downgrade of Malaysian bonds by global index provider, FTSE Russell.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 4.31 points to 1,616.59. The index had earlier slipped to a low of 1,614.23.

Losers led gainers by 365 to 156, while 286 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 735.55 million shares valued at RM332.92 million.

The top losers included Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, PPB Group Bhd and Teck Guan Perdana Bhd.

The actives included Orion IXL Bhd, Vicocom International Holdings Bhd, Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Daya Materials Bhd and Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd.

The gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Perusahaan Sadur Timah Malaysia (Perstima) Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd, Vertice Bhd and Pharmaniaga Bhd.

Asian shares were subdued on Thursday after a negative performance on Wall Street, with caution ahead of business surveys in Europe and Japan, and the Good Friday and Easter holidays keeping investors on the sidelines, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.08%, trading just below its highest since late July 2018 brushed on Wednesday, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said in the US, the ongoing US corporate earnings season would be one of the focuses this month as the US-China trade talks have been going under the radar and traders may trade cautiously over the near term.

"Nevertheless, firmer crude oil prices are likely to lift the trading interests within energy sector in the US.

"On the local front, we expect bargain-hunting activities to emerge after few round of selling activities on the FBM KLCI; key index support will be located around 1,600.

"At the same time, we see opportunities within the export-related stocks within the gloves, technology and furniture sectors on the back of weakening bias ringgit," it said.