Weaker manufacturing data drags KLCI lower

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 2): The FBM KLCI lost 1.27% at midday break today, after the country’s manufacturing conditions deteriorated for a third successive month in April.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI lost 23.57 points to 1,846.80.

Losers led gainers by 402 to 129, while 511 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.07 billion shares valued at RM933.03 million.

The top losers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Hap Seng Consoliated Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, BIMB Holdings Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, Sinotop Holdings Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Genting Plantations Bhd.

The actives included Sumatec Resources Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Borneo Oil Bhd, Nexgram Holdings Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, Asdion Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd.

Gainers included Hong Leon Industries Bhd, UOA Development Bhd, Far East Holdings Bhd, Asia File Corp Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, Inari Amerton Bhd and Yinson Holdings Bhd.

Asian equities eased on Wednesday, while the dollar traded near a four-month high as investors await Federal Reserve's upcoming policy statement for clues of the future pace of the U.S. monetary tightening, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.2%, Reuters said.

Affin Hwang Capital Research said regional markets were expected to trade softer today, after seeing volatility had surged during the last session of the US market, which led investors to feel jittery.

The research house said that sudden increase in selling pressures within the equity markets, combined with falling bond prices, usually indicate market peak in the past, hence investors certainly have good reasons to feel nervous.

“In Bursa Malaysia, stocks are anticipated to behave in the same manner, thus the FBM KLCI Index is expected to fluctuate in a range wider than before.

“Downward bias is expected to escalate; it is wise for investors to adopt a cautiously optimistic view,” the research house said.