Bursa opens lower in cautious trading

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares on Bursa Malaysia were lower in the early session today due to cautious sentiment after the broad rally in global stocks paused on Thursday as investors waited for a breakthrough in US-China trade talks.

At 9.05am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) stood at 1,730.31, down 0.37 of-a-point from 1,730.68 at the close yesterday.

The index opened 0.17 of-a-point weaker at 1,730.51.

In a note, Public Investment Bank Bhd said investors’ focus on the talks has sharpened as the deadline of March 1 nears, when US tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports would jump to 25 per cent from 10 per cent currently, unless the world’s two largest economies reach an agreement.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.35 per cent lower at 2,774.88, the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.4 per cent weaker at 25,850.63 and the Nasdaq Composite ended 0.39 per cent lower at 7,459.71.

Nevertheless, Public Investment Bank said the FBM KLCI is anticipated to trend higher today, ranging between 1,720 and 1,734, given stronger recovery in upward momentum while profit taking activities could be more rigorous while attempting to penetrate above the resistance level of 1,734.

“Support levels for the index are at 1,680, 1,700 and 1,720, while the resistance levels are at 1,734, 1,743 and 1,762,” it added.

On the broader market, losers outpaced gainers 131 to 104, while 187 counters were unchanged, 1,445 untraded and 20 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 124.79 million shares worth RM61.63 million.

Among local heavyweights, Maybank added three sen to RM9.56, Public Bank shed two sen to RM24.98, Tenaga eased six sen to RM13.44 and Petronas Chemicals increased three sen to RM9.08.

Of actives, AirAsia X eased two sen to 27 sen, Bio Osmo lost half-a-sen to six sen and KNM Group declined one sen to 10.5 sen.

The FBM Emas Index decreased 6.23 points to 12,077.69, the FBM Emas Shariah Index went down 15.15 points to 12,047.43 and the FBMT 100 fell 7.71 points to 11,930.76.

The FBM Ace Index was 3.65 points weaker at 4,767.55 and the FBM 70 was 30.58 points lower at 14,546.64.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index was up 20.28 points at 17,873.70, the Plantation Index edged up 9.04 points to 7,461.52 and the Industrial Products and Services Index was 0.33 of-a-point higher at 168.79.