Bursa Malaysia opens lower as Mid-East tension escalates

BURSA Malaysia opened lower today after a mixed performance on Wall Street and as tension in the Middle East escalated after a blast at a Gaza hospital, blamed on an Israeli airstrike, killed hundreds of people, dealers said.

At 9.06 am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) shed 1.09 points to 1,443.04 from Tuesday’s closing of 1,444.13. 

The index opened 0.90 of a point easier to 1,443.23.

On the broader market, decliners led gainers 122 to 103, while 266 counters were unchanged, 1,859 untraded and 10 suspended.

Turnover stood at 178.03 million units worth RM61.95 million.

At least 500 people have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said in news reports.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said the overall trading sentiment was mixed on Wall Street with the technology-heavy Nasdaq index declining as the US restricted sales of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) chips to China.

“Closer to home, we expect the buying support to return as investors could focus on Budget 2024 catalysts after mild profit-taking on Monday.

Brent crude oil remained above US$90 per barrel amid the ongoing concerns about geopolitical risks, especially in the Middle East, while crude palm oil (CPO) maintained around RM3,800 per tonne.

The brokerage firm said despite the negative tone in the technology sector on Wall Street, follow-through buying support may be seen today on the local front.

“Traders may focus on the construction, property, building materials, and solar-related sectors as they re-assess Budget 2024 on infrastructure projects, coupled with the policies crafted around electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy,” it added.

Among the Bursa heavyweight stocks, Maybank slid two sen to RM8.98, Public Bank and CIMB eased one sen each to RM4.17 and RM5.60, respectively and Tenaga Nasional added one sen to RM9.99.

Petronas Chemicals was flat at RM7.50.

Of the actives, newly-listed Tanco warrant and MyEG edged up half-a-sen each to 26 sen and 83 sen, respectively, Minox bagged one sen to 38 sen, while Green Ocean and Tanci were flat at 1.5 sen and 57 sen, respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index declined 8.24 points to 10,684.64, the FBMT 100 Index shed 7.81 points to 10,349.77 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index eased 2.77 points to 10,926.78.

The FBM 70 Index slipped 10.61 points to 14,207.07, while the FBM ACE Index lost 11.84 points to 5,141.30.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index inched up 0.11 of a point to 175.78, the Energy Index improved by 0.78 of-a- point to 882.95 and the Plantation Index gained 2.19 points to 6,891.43.

The Financial Services Index fell 20.60 points to 16,223.66. — BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE