KLCI tracks regional markets higher, gains seen limited

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 21): The FBM KLCI rose at the midday break, tracking gains at most regional markets, lifted by select blue chips.

However, the upside was seen as limited.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 2.35 points to 1,858.34. The index had earlier dipped to its intra-morning low of 1,852.14.

Gainers led losers by 324 to 238, while 573 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.09 billion shares valued at RM923.24 million.

The top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Magni-Tech Industries Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd and UEM Edgenta Bhd.

The actives included Sumatec Resources Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, DGB Asia Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, UMW Oil & Gas Corp Bhd and PUC Bhd.

The decliners included Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Innoprise Plantations Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd and Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd.

Japanese shares led Asian markets higher after a weak start on Wednesday, with Japanese export focused companies attracting investors as the US dollar gained against the yen thanks to US Treasury debt yields hovering near highs not seen in four years, said Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan took early cues from overnight losses on Wall Street and lost 0.1% before rising 0.5%, it said.

Affin Hwang IB senior associate director and head of retail research Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said US stocks halted a six-day rally as the S&P 500 index fell by 0.6% to 2,716.26 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 254.63 points (1%) to 24,964.75.

"It seems that rising bond yields [have] gradually pressured stock prices. The two-year Treasury note yield stood at 2.224%, succeeding its highest touch levels in almost a decade overnight.

"Technically, the upside of current rebound seems limited perhaps due to investors' lack of conviction in seeing stock prices trading at higher level. Investors can expect high volatility to continue in the near future.

"For the local market, the FBM KLCI index is anticipated to drift lower in tandem with the soft global market. Oil and gas as well as construction sector might continue to be the focus of investors in Bursa Malaysia," he said.