KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Bursa Malaysia finished on a negative note today, tracking most of its regional peers with investors cautiously monitoring the prospect of United States (US) stimulus measures.
Talks on the US’s Covid-19 relief package are set to continue today, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seek to narrow their differences on the stimulus package, hoping to reach for an agreement and subsequently pass a bill before the November 3 presidential election.
Meanwhile, on the local front, political uncertainty was causing foreign investors to keep selling Malaysian equities, according to an analyst.
“However, institutional buying was supporting the index-linked counters, and thanks to the conditional movement control order (CMCO) reinstatement, retail investors were back to provide support to the lower liners,” she said.
The CMCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya runs from October 14-27 and in Sabah from October 13-26.
At 5pm, the benchmark index closed 7.14 points, or 0.47 per cent, lower at 1,510.97 from 1,518.11 at yesterday’s close.
The market barometer opened 0.39 point higher at 1,518.50 and moved between 1,510.69 and 1,520.97 throughout the day.
On the scoreboard, losers led gainers 661 to 394, while 449 counters were unchanged, 647 untraded and 22 others suspended.
Total volume surged to 11 billion units worth RM5.82 billion (the highest volume since August 28) versus the 9.50 billion units worth RM5.43 billion recorded at yesterday’s close.
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim told Bernama that the FBM KLCI was also dragged down by Petronas Dagangan, which dropped 5.2 per cent amid concerns over surging coronavirus cases globally and by Libya’s plan to boost output which led to the decline in oil prices.
“Meanwhile, the Bursa Healthcare Index was down 1.5 per cent, the highest among the sectors despite the increasing number of Covid-19 infections.
“Perhaps investors retreated to the sidelines amid the political uncertainty in Malaysia and also from the highly upcoming anticipated US presidential election in November,” he commented.
Nevertheless, Adam said Bursa’s technology index was up 0.9 per cent, signalling that demand for information technology services would remain strong in the long run amid the prolonged pandemic situation.
Regionally, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.44 per cent to 23,567.04, Singapore’s Straits Times was 0.65 per cent lower at 2,527.93 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng expanded 0.11 per cent to 24,569.54.
Among the heavyweights, Maybank lost two sen to RM7.18, Top Glove erased 12 sen to RM9.48 and Public Bank shed four sen to RM15.80 while Hartalega was four sen better at RM19.04.
Top losers included Nestle, which slumped RM2.60 to RM139.40, followed by Petronas Dagangan which lost 98 sen to RM17.90 and F&N which declined 46 sen to RM31.10.
Among the actives, Lambo and Luster were flat at 3.5 sen and 22.5 sen respectively while Ace Market debutant Aneka Jaringan slipped four sen to 29 sen.
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index shrank 52.34 points to 10,985.64, the FBMT 100 Index fell 52.44 points to 10,776.48 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index contracted 73.08 points to 13,216.51.
The FBM 70 declined 76.62 points to 14,564.18 and the FBM ACE slumped 179.02 points to 10,992.73.
The Financial Services Index erased 33.10 points to 12,412.13, the Plantation Index gave up 22.86 points to 6,894.66, the Healthcare Index dropped 67.74 points to 4,235.26 but the Industrial Products and Services Index edged up 0.07 point to 146.58.
The Main Market volume widened to 6.61 billion shares worth RM4.62 billion from 4.72 billion shares worth RM4.15 billion.
Warrants turnover fell to 875.64 million units valued at RM253.99 million from 1.15 billion units valued at RM337.23 million.
Volume on the ACE Market slipped to 3.54 billion shares worth RM951.77 million versus 3.61 billion shares worth RM936.75 million.
Consumer products and services accounted for 1.54 billion shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (2.28 billion), construction (193.36 million), technology (871.41 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (34.20 million), property (961.49 million), plantations (38.71 million), REITs (7.14 million), closed/fund (0), energy (168.93 million), healthcare (95.08 million), telecommunications and media (32.38 million), transportation and logistics (74.87 million), and utilities (306.38 million). — Bernama