KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 ― Bursa Malaysia remained in the negative territory at midday on continued profit-taking as market participants kept their eyes locked on geopolitical developments, an analyst said.

At 12.30pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) slipped 7.39 points to 1,500.32 from yesterday’s close of 1,507.71.

The benchmark index opened 2.64 points weaker at 1,505.07, and moved between 1,497.77 and 1,505.53 throughout the morning trading session.

On the broader market, losers outpaced gainers 382 to 264, while 416 counters were unchanged, 1,185 untraded, and nine others suspended.

Turnover stood at 1.44 million units worth RM747.01 million.

ActivTrades trader Anderson Alves said Asian equities were caught in lacklustre trade today as peers on Wall Street traded sideways following earnings releases.

Adding to the defensive mood were geopolitical concerns surrounding China's military drills around Taiwan.

“Traders are likely to take defensive positions going into the weekend as risks over China-Taiwan are still on the radar,” he said in a note.

Alves also stated that the mood in markets was also cautious ahead of the United States (US) Nonfarm Payroll data.

There is likely to be a particular focus on the resilience of jobs growth, as well as any discrepancies between establishment and household surveys.

“The US Federal Reserve's policymakers are putting weight on the labour market strength as evidence against the economy already being in recession. The recent rise in initial jobless claims in the US have served to further fuel concerns over the outlook on the country's labour market,” he said.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank lost 2.0 sen to RM8.88, both Public Bank and CIMB were 1.0 sen lower at RM4.64 and RM5.24, respectively, Petronas Chemicals declined 5.0 sen to RM8.81, and IHH Healthcare slid 3.0 sen to RM6.43.

Of the actives, Euro Holdings slipped 1.0 sen to 15 sen, ACE Market debutant Unique Fire shed 3.0 sen to 23 sen, MYEG rose 2.5 sen to 80 sen, while Metronic and Borneo Oil were both flat at 7.5 sen and 2.5 sen, respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index shrank 41.50 points to 10,652.78, the FBM Emas Shariah Index went down 51.70 points to 10,816.03, the FBMT 100 Index narrowed 42.16 points to 10,401.68, the FBM 70 decreased 15.35 points to 12,788.91, and the FBM ACE eased 0.69 of-a-point to 4,884.59.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index dropped 36.33 points to 16,628.88, the Industrial Products and Services Index was down 1.67 points to 184.30, the Energy Index dipped 9.73 points to 651.34, while the Plantation Index climbed by 24.96 points to 7,108.95. ― Bernama