KL shares in weak opening

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Shares on Bursa Malaysia opened easier this morning as Wall Street endured overnight choppy trading with sharp falls in the technology and energy stocks, dealers said.

At 9.01am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) stood at 1,862.94, declining 1.09 points from 1,864.03 at yesterday's close.

The key index opened 1.54 points easier at 1,862.49.

Public Investment Bank Bhd said in a note that market participants were watching the latest shake-up in the Trump administration and digesting inflation data that matched market expectations.

“Stocks were unsettled by news before the start of trading that President Donald Trump had fired Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, while early pressure on the dollar and Treasury yields intensified.

“Some in the market noted that his replacement, Central Intelligence Agency Director, Mike Pompeo, had often voiced very similar views to the President,” said the research firm.

Meanwhile, OANDA Head of Trading Asia-Pacific, Stephen Innes said despite the tepid consumer price index inflation print, US equity markets closed lower.

“The game of revolving chairs in Washington plays on, with more risk aversion creeping into play as geopolitical uncertainty ratchets higher with the more hawkish foreign policy leaning, while equity investors remain extremely cautious about trade war escalations,” he told Bernama.

On the local front, market breadth was negative with 114 losers against 83 gainers, while 168 counters were unchanged, 1,519 untraded and 20 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 66.26 million shares worth RM24.76 million.

Among heavyweights, Maybank, CIMB, Petronas Chemicals, IHH Healthcare, Axiata was flat at RM10.44, RM7.25, RM8.15, RM6.09 and RM5.45 respectively.

Meanwhile, Public Bank rose 14 sen to RM23.14 and Tenaga was two sen lower at RM15.60.

Of the actives, SKH Consortium, PDZ Holdings, Nexgram was flat at 8.5 sen, seven sen and five sen, respectively.

Meanwhile, UMW Oil & Gas, Borneo Oil and Hibiscus Petroleum, were half-a-sen lower at 30 sen, 7.5 sen and 87.5 sen respectively.

The FBM Emas Index trimmed 11 points to 13,107.13, the FBMT 100 Index was 7.72 points lower at 12,857.08 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index declined 21.84 points to 13,290.89.

The FBM 70 increased 0.12 of-a-point to 15,660.99, while the FBM Ace was 3.47 points weaker at 5,988.06.

Sectorwise, the Finance Index contracted 12.7 points to 18,141.39, the Industrial Index inched down 8.25 points to 3,250.22 and the Plantation Index decreased 21.14 points to 8,083.97. — Bernama