Bursa Malaysia opens lower as new Covid variant clouds sentiment

Bursa Malaysia opened the week on a lower note as worries on the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant clouded buying sentiment, analysts said. 

At 9.05 am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) dropped 8.81 points to 1,503.41 from 1,512.22 at last Friday’s close.

The index opened 4.43 points weaker at 1,507.79. 

Losers thumped gainers 589 to 80, while 188 counters were unchanged, 1,455 untraded and 78 others suspended.

Total volume stood at 401.14 million units worth RM263.24 million. 

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, may result in a mixed sentiment as the data such as infectivity and mortality rate would only be known in another one to two weeks’ time.

Meantime, tracking the mild rebound in overseas futures at the point of writing, there is a slight chance for a technical rebound today, but the upside will be capped as COVID-19 concerns remain valid.

Commodities-wise, crude oil price dropped over 11.0 per cent on market worries that the COVID-19 conditions may eventually result in an oil supply surplus, while crude palm oil price fell.

“Selldown in recovery-themed sectors may continue with more countries imposing travel bans, while we could expect fresh buying interest within the healthcare sector at least for the near term.

“Nevertheless, bargain hunting will emerge if the selldown is significant on the recovery-themed sectors,” said the brokerage firm in its Market Pulse note. 

On the technical outlook, it said the FBM KLCI declined further from the 1,520 support level following Friday’s selldown.

It noted that the next support level was pegged at 1,500, while resistance was pegged around 1,535-1,560.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank was down eight sen to RM8.02, Public Bank eased three sen to RM3.97, Petronas Chemicals fell 10 sen to RM8.33, Tenaga dipped five sen to RM9.33, CIMB reduced 14 sen to RM4.96, and IHH was flat at RM6.56. 

Of the actives, Careplus rose 13 sen to RM1.35, while Kanger eased half-a-sen to three sen and DNex slipped 1.5 sen to 80 sen. 

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index narrowed 92.01 points to 10,987.12, the FBMT 100 Index contracted 80.43 points to 10,682.22, and the FBM Emas Shariah Index went down 62.20 points to 11,978.54.

The FBM 70 lost 178.29 points to 14,276.32, and the FBM ACE weakened 91.37 points to 6,371.94.   

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index shed 3.14 points to 199.63, the Financial Services Index trimmed 178.58 points to 14,965.09, and the Plantation Index slipped 50.94 points to 6,414.10.  —BERNAMA/ pic by BLOOMBERG