Bursa Malaysia opens flat ahead of US CPI data, banks’ earnings reports

BURSA Malaysia opened flat this morning ahead of the upcoming United States (US) Consumer Price Index (CPI) data as well as a series of banks’ earnings reports to kick-start the earnings season.

At 9.05 am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) inched up by 0.24 of a point to 1,428.37 from yesterday’s close of 1,428.13.

The main index opened 0.99 of a point higher at 1,429.12.

The market breadth was positive as gainers surpassed decliners 127 to 107, while 240 counters were unchanged, 1,759 untraded and 13 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 232.12 million units worth RM65.16 million.

In a note, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said Wall Street closed mixed yesterday as investors seek fresh leads from the US CPI data which will be released on Wednesday as well as earnings of major banks namely JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup this week.

Besides, it expects bargain-hunting activities may continue with the anticipation for further recovery in the labour market following an improvement in the unemployment rate which fell to 3.5 per cent in February.

On sector focus, the brokerage said investors may favour the oil and gas counters given that oil prices remained solid.

“Besides, investors may see further bargain-hunting activities in defensive sectors such as telecommunications, banking and consumer staples.

“Meanwhile, the healthcare sector has been gaining momentum,” it said.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank added two sen to RM8.67, CIMB ticked up one sen to RM5.19,  Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals were flat each at RM3.89 and RM7.40 while Tenaga Nasional declined six sen to RM9.12.

As for the actives, Hong Seng, Leform and Tanco rose one sen each to 12.5 sen, 23.5 sen and 47.5 sen respectively, Barakah Offshore Petroleum gained 1.5 sen to 6.5 sen while Dolphin International remained flat at 1.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index added1.79 points to 10,502.88, the FBMT 100 Index earned 1.24 points to 10,185.96, the FBM ACE Index was 2.85 points higher at 5,306.39 while the FBM 70 Index gave up 0.38 of-a-point to 13,735.93, and the FBM Emas Shariah Index fell 4.04 points to 10,853.30.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index advanced 19.10 points to 15,723.22, the Industrial Products and Services Index inched up 0.05 of-a-point to 174.21 and the Plantation Index increased 5.29 points to 6,813.01,  while the Energy Index lost 1.38 points to 863.03. — Bernama / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL