Malaysia stocks close lower on profit-taking

Malaysia stocks close lower on profit-taking
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 30): Malaysia stocks closed lower today, with the benchmark FBM KLCI falling 1.94 points or 0.1% as investors booked profits after recent sharp gains.

The benchmark index flirted briefly in positive territory in the morning session, opening at 1,865.35 points to touch an intra-day high of 1,872.70 points. At 5pm, it pared its early gains to settle at 1,868.58 points.

Market breadth was negative as decliners outpaced gainers by 794 to 252, while 388 counters traded unchanged.

TA Securities Holdings Bhd technical analyst Stephen Soo told that profit-taking has kicked in, after stellar gains in the past few days.

“The index has risen quite sharply in the past few days to its record high in more than three years. The correction is good as the market has been overbought,”  Soo said.

This is in relation to the overnight retreat in Dow Jones and the reversal of the ringgit strength against the greenback, which have encouraged investors to take profits, he added.

“The ringgit went up to 3.85 against the US dollar yesterday — which was the highest since 3.83 in April 2016 — and now we have headed to 3.89. The ringgit has been moving in choppy trade, and has pulled back a little,” Soo added.

At press time, the ringgit was trading at 3.8985 to the US dollar.

Notable decliners across the board were Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (MPI) after it turned in weaker quarterly results, glovemakers Top Glove Corp Bhd and Hartalega Holdings Bhd, as well as Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd which had eked out gains following Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to hike the overnight policy rate.

Sumatech Resources Bhd, UMW Oil & Gas Corp Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd remained the most actively-traded stocks for a second consecutive day.

Market retreats were seen elsewhere in the region, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 closing down 1.45%, South Korea’s Kospi ending 1.17% lower and Hong Kong Hang Seng Index losing 1.09% at market close.

Reuters reported today that Asian stocks retreated from record highs on Tuesday, after a selloff in Apple shares and spike in bond yields knocked Wall Street lower, while the dollar found support as US bond yields climbed to near four-year highs.

Malaysian markets will be closed tomorrow (Jan 31) and on Thursday (Feb 1), in conjunction with the Thaipusam and Federal Territory Day holidays respectively. Trading resumes on Friday (Feb 2).