Bursa Stays Higher At Midday

Bursa Malaysia extended its uptrend at midday on Wednesday (March 15) on bargain-hunting, in line with the regional bourses’ better performance, tracking a relief rally on Wall Street overnight, said an analyst.

At lunch break, the FBM KLCI had risen 10.88 points to 1,404.71, from Tuesday’s close at 1,393.83.

The key index opened 6.27 points better at 1,400.10.

Market breadth was positive, with gainers surpassing decliners 546 to 246, while 349 counters were unchanged, 1,107 untraded, and 10 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 2.10 billion units valued at RM1.26 billion.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said that following a five-session rout, the local bourse saw some rebound, along with regional markets, as the largely-in-line inflation data in the US could have eased investors’ concern about an aggressive interest rate hike next week.

“The strong rebound on Wall Street overnight spilled over to the local bourse, benefiting the technology sector. Investors may see bargain-hunting activities in beaten-down sectors such as financial services and industrial products and services.

“On the other hand, energy stocks could still be under pressure due to weaker crude oil prices of below US$80 per barrel,” the brokerage said.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research said the road ahead remains rocky, and any rebound could be capped in the 1,420-1,444-1,468 zones, as investors recalibrate a protracted correction on Wall Street amid rate hike uncertainty in the US, coupled with the health of the US banking sector and corporate earnings, following Moody’s cut in the US banking system’s outlook to negative.

Among Bursa heavyweights, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) at RM8.38 per share and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd at RM5.21 had gained four sen each, Public Bank Bhd improved 10 sen to RM3.98, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd ticked up five sen to RM7.00, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd climbed 13 sen to RM9.40.

Among the actives, ACE Market debutant Oppstar Bhd jumped RM1.61 to RM2.24, Hong Seng Consolidated Bhd inched up half a sen to 15 sen, and Jade Marvel Group Bhd earned one sen to 30.5 sen, while BSL Corp Bhd fell one sen to four sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index was 85.96 points higher at 10,267.87, the FBM 70 Index improved 118.24 points to 13,185.85, the FBMT 100 Index was 80.04 points stronger at 9,958.81, the FBM Emas Shariah Index added 67.26 points to 10,549.41, and the FBM ACE Index expanded 81.37 points to 5,258.25.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index rose 144.01 points to 15,523.24, the Energy Index lifted 12.20 points to 836.48, the Industrial Products and Services Index edged up 1.29 points to 169.82, and the Plantation Index garnered 26.43 points to 6,693.73.

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