Bursa Malaysia opens lower, tracking weaker Wall Street

BURSA Malaysia opened lower today, taking the cue from a weaker overnight Wall Street performance, amid uncertainties surrounding the United States (US) interest rates path, and as US Treasury yields resumed their uphill climb, a dealer said.

At 9.05 am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) fell 2.02 points to 1,489.19 compared with Wednesday’s close of 1,491.21.

The barometer index opened 2.72 points lower at 1,488.49.

On the broader market, losers led gainers 179 to 102, while 236 counters were unchanged, 1,735 untraded and 16 others suspended.

Turnover amounted to 262.19 million units worth RM89.78 million.

Rakuten Trade equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said the overnight Wall Street closed lower following a stronger-than-expected retail sales data for December, indicating a resilient economy, putting any hopes of a lower interest rate on hold for the time being.

He said, as a result, the US 10-year yield edged higher at 4.106 per cent as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq lost 94 points and 89 points respectively.

In Hong Kong, he noted that the Hang Seng Index slumped 590 points to its lowest level since November 2022 on worries over China’s fourth-quarter 2023 economic growth that came in below consensus and coupled with the decline in property prices.

Back home, the FBM KLCI also weakened amid a broad sell-down among the regional markets.

“Nonetheless, the local benchmark index managed to close off its intra-day low due to some bargain-hunting activities.

“For today, we expect the index to trend within the 1,490 to1,500 range with a downside bias over prevailing concerns in China and the US economic data. Meanwhile, recent steep declines among the small caps may also affect the retail participation over the short term,” he told Bernama.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank shed two sen to RM9.03, Public Bank eased one sen to RM4.34, CIMB slipped six sen to RM5.97, Tenaga Nasional fell 12 sen RM10.32, while Petronas Chemicals gained three sen at RM6.79.

Of the actives, Artroniq dropped 28.5 sen to 21 sen, Mercury Securities slid 6.5 sen to 39 sen, Minetech Resources edged up half-a-sen to 17.5 sen, Pestech International added 1.5 sen to 31.5 sen, while Leform was unchanged at 17.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index eased 16.63 points to 11,086.18, the FBM 70 Index shed 26.6 points to 15,017.16, the FBMT 100 Index declined 15.72 points to 10,745.07, the FBM Emas Shariah Index decreased 12.83 points to 11,178.23, and the FBM ACE Index fell 52.10 points to 4,995.67.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index declined 28.30 points to 16,606.83 and the Property Index was down 1.92 points to 886.44.

The Plantation Index gained 1.02 points to 7,173.59, the Industrial Products and Services Index was 0.44 of-a-point better at 173.80 and the Energy Index improved 1.71 points to 851.64. — BERNAMA