KLCI struggles to stay afloat amid shaky regional markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): The FBM KLCI swung between positive and negative territories in choppy trading in the morning session today, against a backdrop of shaky regional markets.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was up 0.60 points to 1,649.75. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,653.58 and dipped to a low of 1,647.82.

Gainers led losers by 250 to 159, while 269 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 546.99 million shares valued at RM245.70 million.

The gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, UMS Holdings Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd, Ayer Holdings Bhd, Rexit Bhd and Merge Energy Bhd.

The actives included Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Scomi Energy Services Bhd, My EG Services Bhd and Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd.

The decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Batu Kawan Bhd, UMW Holdings Bhd, Hai-O Enterprise Bhd and Imaspro Corp Bhd.

Asian shares were shaky on Tuesday after US Treasury yields sank to their lowest since late 2017, further below short-term interest rates and adding to fears of a US recession, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat in early trade after two days of losses. Japan's Nikkei rebounded 1.1% after a 3% fall on Monday, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said the current market sentiment will be wobbly in the US as investors will be keeping an eye on the inverted yield curve, which could be a signal of a further slowdown in economic activities moving forward.

"At the same time, the unsettled trade disputes between the US and China may fuel further uncertainties in the markets. Hence, upside of the Dow will be envisaged around 26,000.

"With the rising concerns over global growth outlook after several central bankers downgraded the outlook for 2019, coupled with the uncertain trade developments between US and China, we believe the sentiment on the local front may remain subdued and the downward bias mode on the FBM KLCI may persist at least over the near term," it said.