KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 ― A sustained investor confidence is set to see buying momentum persist on Bursa Malaysia next week with market focus shifting toward banking counters as they prepare to unveil their fourth quarter (4Q) results.

Earnings in the banking sector in the quarter are expected to come in neutral to muted amid net interest margin pressure, higher operating expenditure as well as credit costs, among others.

Head of wealth research & advisory, designated portfolio manager at UOB Kay Hian Wealth Advisors, Mohd Sedek Jantan said additionally, attention remains on China's February purchasing managers' index (PMI), slated for release on Friday.

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“Expectations suggest marginal stability or a slight dip from 49.2 to 49.1, partly due to the impact of the Chinese New Year holiday closure on February data.

“Given the pivotal role of PMI as a barometer of business profitability, both domestic and international stock investors are primed to closely track these figures, shaping market sentiment in the region throughout the week,” he told Bernama.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said despite a pullback following a strong recent 20-month rally, the FBM KLCI retains a position above all the Exponential Moving Averages (EMAs).

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“The positive bias is further supported by the improving EMAs, indicating ongoing consolidation. As such, we anticipate the benchmark index will hover within the range of 1,540 to 1,570 for the next week, with immediate support at 1,534, followed by 1,520.

“A notable subsequent resistance level is identified at 1,570 and a breakthrough above this level could signal further upward momentum,” he said.

The market was mixed this week as healthy profit-taking dominates as players continuously cashed out some gains in stocks rallying following their stellar earnings performance.

The US Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) meeting minutes, which indicated a commitment to maintaining a hawkish stance, was another reason that contributed to the profit-taking activities.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) garnered 15.56 points to 1,549.11 from last week's 1,533.55.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index soared 114.10 points to 11,519.36, the FBMT 100 Index garnered 118.57 points to 11,172.17, the FBM 70 Index surged 191.71 points to 15,592.52, and the FBM Emas Shariah Index advanced 103.29 points to 11,561.78.

The FBM ACE Index contracted 19.40 points to 4,885.89.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index widened by 128.84 points to 17,345.39, the Energy Index gained 34.81 points to 929.89 and the Industrial Products and Services Index edged up 1.74 points to 177.85.

The Plantation Index lost 6.40 points to 7,247.83.

Weekly turnover jumped 18.60 billion units worth RM13.51 billion from 12.23 billion units worth RM8.61 billion in the preceding week.

The Main Market volume improved to 11.77 billion shares worth RM12.15 billion from 7.83 billion shares worth RM7.73 billion a week ago.

Warrants turnover was stronger at 4.11 billion units valued at RM598 million versus 2.49 billion units valued at RM359.16 million last week.

The ACE Market volume expanded to 2.65 billion shares worth RM755.20 million from 1.89 billion shares worth RM509.6 million previously. ― Bernama