Bursa Lower At Lunch Break

Bursa Malaysia ended the morning trading session lower on Thursday (March 23), following a slump in Wall Street’s performance overnight, after the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points and hinted that further rate hikes are still on the cards.

At lunch break, the benchmark FBM KLCI had declined by 7.82 points to 1,404.22, from Wednesday’s close at 1,412.04.

The market bellwether, which opened 5.07 points easier at 1,406.97, moved between 1,403.55 and 1,408.90 throughout the morning session.

On the broader market, losers led gainers 394 to 351, while 363 counters were unchanged, 1,165 untraded, and seven others suspended.

Turnover amounted to 1.77 billion units worth RM903.90 million.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said although sentiment may turn cautious, buying activities are expected to persist within regional markets post Fed decision.

“Therefore, we anticipate the index to trend within the 1,405-1,420 range today (Thursday), with interest returning to oil and gas stocks, underpinned by improving crude oil prices, as Brent crude edged closer to US$77 per barrel,” he added.

Regionally, Singapore’s Straits Times Index eased 0.10% to 3,217.66, Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.33% to 27,375.35, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.78% to 19,743.75, and Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index strengthened 1.20% to 6,691.61.

Back home, among Bursa heavyweights, CelcomDigi Bhd went up two sen to RM4.28, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd was flat at RM4.70, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) dipped nine sen to RM8.46, Public Bank Bhd slipped seven sen to RM3.93, and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd was four sen easier at RM5.16.

As for the actives, Top Glove Corp Bhd advanced 3.5 sen to 98.5 sen, VinVest Capital Holdings Bhd added half a sen to 22 sen, Hong Seng Consolidated Bhd decreased one sen to 12.5 sen, Zen Tech International Bhd slid half a sen to 2.5 sen, and Computer Forms (Malaysia) Bhd gave up five sen to 38.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM 70 Index bagged 74.69 points to 13,363.82, the FBM Emas Shariah Index was 7.59 points higher at 10,633.96, the FBM Emas Index trimmed 26.39 points to 10,296.35, the FBMT 100 Index fell 28.43 points to 9,988.17, and the FBM ACE Index shrank 26.68 points to 5,275.0.

Sector-wise, the Energy Index gained 8.64 points to 814.73, the Financial Services Index dipped 153.80 points to 15,493.20, the Industrial Products and Services Index inched down 0.23 of a point to 166.48, and the Plantation Index narrowed 26.79 points to 6,722.39.

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