Poor start to March as KLCI falls 0.48%, slips below crucial 1,700-level

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 1): The FBM KLCI started off March on a poor note and fell 0.48% in early trade this morning and slipped below the 1,700-level, dragged by index-linked heavyweights including Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI fell 8.19 points to 1,699.54.

The top losers in early trade included Tenaga, Petronas Dagangan, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bdh, MNRB Holdings Bhd, PBA Holdings Bdh, Hong Leong Financial Group Bdh, Genting Plantations Bhd, QL Resources Bhd and Brahim’s Holdings Bhd.

Local sentiment also took a hit after the health of Malaysia’s goods-producing economy deteriorated for a fifth successive month during February, with continued declines seen in both output and new orders.

The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index registered 47.6 in February, down from 47.9 in January, thereby pointing to a sharper deterioration in manufacturing sector business conditions.

Stocks in Asia notched up gains early Friday, with Japanese shares helped by overnight weakness in the yen. U.S. shares earlier edged lower amid a mixed set of economic signals. Treasury yields held on to gains, according to Bloomberg.

Japanese equities posted the bulk of gains ahead of the open in Hong Kong and China, where focus will be on MSCI Inc.’s announcement that it will boost the weight of domestic so-called A shares in its global benchmarks. The S&P 500 Index slipped as lingering concerns over trade and geopolitical risks dented sentiment, despite a report showing the U.S. economy cooled less than expected last quarter, it said.

CIMB Retail Research said there was no pre- and post-CNY stock market rally in February 2019.

However, it said the growing optimism over the US-China trade talks in the third week of Feb was one of the main deviations from our expectation of decline.

“The FBMKLCI Index was up 24 points or 1.4% month-on-month.

“As we head into the month of March, the follow-through buying interest in the local stock market is not likely to carry on as the index is expected to face strong selling pressure at or near the 200-day and 200-week EMAs.

“Shares on Bursa may see some bargain hunting activities but the upside may not be significant. Resistance: 1,730 & 1,750. Support: 1,700 & 1,682,” it