KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Soft market sentiment saw Bursa Malaysia’s barometer index barely move throughout the day as global uncertainties continued to keep investors on the sidelines pending crucial US jobs data slated for release Friday.

At 5pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 0.88 of-a-point to 1,441.97 with continued modest gains by Petronas Chemicals helping to curb further losses.

The barometer index opened 1.12 points better at 1,443.97 from Thursday’s close of 1,442.85 and moved between 1,441.09 and 1,446.13 today.

The market breadth was slightly positive with 453 decliners and 377 gainers, while 488 counters were unchanged and 1,019 untraded.

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Turnover shrank to 2.99 billion units valued at RM1.99 billion from Thursday’s 3.01 billion units valued at RM1.98 billion.

Rakuten Trade equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said investors were wary ahead of a US government jobs report later today followed by Consumer Price Index (CPI) data and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) meeting outcome next week.

These, coupled with the not-so-rosy regional prints contributed to the cautious sentiment across emerging markets, with most performing weak.

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Stocks in Japan finished sharply lower on speculation that the Bank of Japan may end its negative interest rate policy.

On top of that, recent economic data showed Japan’s economy shrank by 2.9 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023, worse than projected earlier.

Meanwhile, stocks in Hong Kong stayed at their 13-month low on China’s economic gloom.

“Simultaneously, the continuous escalation of tensions in the Middle East, which showed no signs of easing, has heightened risk sentiment and adversely impacted the equity markets,” he told Bernama.

At home, Petronas Chemicals climbed 11 sen to RM7.06 and Maybank rose three sen to RM9.04.

On the other hand, Public Bank lost two sen to RM4.24, CIMB Bank was flat at RM5.76 and CelcomDigi dipped seven sen to RM4.06.

Among the most active counters, YTL jumped 15 sen to RM1.69, Reneuco lost 2.5 sen to 23 sen, Asdion rose one sen to 8.0 sen, and Widad decreased half-a-sen to 46.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index gained 11.59 points to 10,630.68, the FBMT 100 Index perked up 9.16 points to 10,300.30 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index advanced 2.86 points to 10,730.92.

The FBM 70 Index gained 79.73 points to 13,956.97 and the FBM ACE Index was 41.69 points higher at 5,106.42.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index slipped 1.80 points to 16,333.94, the Energy Index climbed 8.11 points to 796.23, the Plantation Index put on 2.58 points to 6,956.99, and the Industrial Products and Services Index rose 1.21 points to 169.70.

The Main Market volume narrowed to 1.68 billion units valued at RM1.72 billion against 1.80 billion units valued at RM1.72 billion on Thursday.

Warrants turnover declined to 619.82 million units worth RM72.09 million from 648.96 million units worth RM66.25 million previously.

The ACE Market volume, however, expanded to 675.75 million shares valued at RM204.04 million versus 559.51 million shares valued at RM199.56 million yesterday.

Consumer products and services counters accounted for 362.98 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (354.91 million); construction (121.87 million); technology (144.95 million); SPAC (nil); financial services (47.23 million); property (188.84 million); plantation (30.92 million); REITs (13.39 million), closed/fund (12,500); energy (121.23 million); healthcare (65.37 million); telecommunications and media (20.80 million); transportation and logistics (49.07 million); and utilities (161.85 million). — Bernama