Profit taking drags down Malaysian stocks

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 29): Malaysian stocks closed lower today, as investors continued to digest earnings from a slew of corporates and take profits ahead of the long weekend.

The benchmark FBM KLCI ended the day 6.26 points or 0.34% lower at 1,820.64, after trading between 1,815.74 and 1,822.43 throughout the day.

Market breadth was negative with 557 decliners compared with 346 gainers, while 418 counters traded unchanged. Leading movers were Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Kobay Technology Bhd and APM Automotive Holdings Bhd. Lagging movers were British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, Supermax Corp Bhd and Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd.

Nevertheless, trading volume increased to 2.69 billion shares worth RM2.63 billion from yesterday's 2.57 billion shares worth RM2.29 billion.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong said investors have already digested external optimism on international news such as the US-Mexico trade deal.

"Given this, we expect the index to pull back with a mild decline over the next one or two weeks before it normalises again," he told, adding that as it is a short working week, investors may also resort to profit taking ahead of the long weekend.

"We expect the stock market tomorrow to be in the negative as well," he said.

Across the region, Reuters reported that Japan's Nikkei ended the day up 0.15% at 22,848.22. China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite closed down 0.31% to 2,769.30, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed higher by 0.23% to 28,416.44.