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Subdued trading as investors await fresh catalysts

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI remained subdued, en route to a fourth day of profit-taking as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the tabling of Budget 2022.

At 12.30pm, the country’s benchmark index was down 3.7 points to 1,584.24.

Despite the recent weakness, the index remained above the 200-day simple moving average, suggesting that bullish sentiment remains on the market given the positive of a recovering economy and elevated commodities prices.

Bank stocks held tight to the reference price as it continued to benefit from the recovery theme. CIMB was up one sen to RM5.25, Maybank was flat at RM.815 while Public Bank dropped one sen to RM4.23 and Hong Leong Bank slid two sen to RM18.82.

Plantation counters were range-bound as the price of crude palm oil futures remained at record levels of trading.

Sime Darby Plantation was down one sen to RM4.27 while IOI fell three sen to RM4.02 and Kuala Lumpur Kepong dipped two sen to RM22.68.

In other commodities plays, Press Metal slid seven sen to RM5.73 and Petronas Chemicals stayed flat at RM8.80.

On the broader markets, top actives were Kanger flat at five sen, GUH surging 13 sen to 77 sen and VC climbing 0.5 sen to 10 sen.

In regional markets, expectations of strong corporate earnings buoyed equities prices.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.9% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.7%. In China, the main index was up 0.1% although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.4% as mainland property firms listed on the Hong Kong exchange slumped on concerns over a trial property tax.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX200 retraced earlier gains to head for a flattish close.

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