KLCI struggles to stay above 1,800-level, ringgit dips

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 28): The FBM KLCI struggled to stay above the 1,800-point level on Wednesday as the fall at global markets kept investor sentiment on tenterhooks.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI fell 5.03 points to 1,798.14. The index had earlier dipped to its intra-morning low of 1,790.02.

Losers outpaced gainers by 397 to 250, while 323 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.02 billion shares valued at RM925.61 million.

The ringgit also continued its slide against the US dollar and was down 0.73% at 3.6235 versus the greenback.

The top decliners included Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, Hong Leong Capital Bhd, KLCC Property Holdings Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

The actives included Asia Bioenergy Technologies Bhd, KNM Group Bhd, Minetech Resources Bhd, Systech Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd and Hubline Bhd.

The gainers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Panasonic Malaysia Manufacturing Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Hap Seng Plantations Bhd, Pos Malaysia Bhd and LPI Capital Bhd.

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street into the red early on Wednesday, while the euro managed a rare rally on speculation the Federal Reserve could take a dovish turn in its post-meeting statement later in the session, according to Reuters.

Apple Inc provided some relief after the bell as record sales of its iPhone line helped it beat expectations, sending its stock up 5 percent, it said.

But earnings from other majors generally disappointed, with multinationals from DuPont to Microsoft Corp complaining that a strong U.S. dollar was hurting profits, said Reuters.

BIMB Securities Research said Asian markets were mostly firmer on Tuesday as foreign accumulation had been rather apparent.

Locally, it said the FBM KLCI was up 6.73 points at 1,803.17 due to the return of foreign buyers.

“We noticed that net foreign inflows had been positive over the last 3 trading days amounting to a total RM405.9 million thus allaying fear of a mass exodus of foreign funds.

“Nonetheless, with yesterday’s weak performance from the US and Europe, market performance may be slightly affected today with 1,800 as the immediate support level,” it said.