KUALA LUMPUR,. Bursa Malaysia was mixed in early trade today, in sync with the performance on Wall Street overnight.

At 9.09am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 0.98 point to 1,449.22 from yesterday’s closing of 1,450.20.

The index opened 1.14 points higher at 1,451.34.

Market breadth was slightly positive with gainers outpacing decliners 167 to 134, while 211 counters were unchanged, 1,701 untraded, and 20 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 147.16 million units worth RM65.58 million.

Wall Street’s performance overnight was affected by mixed key manufacturing print.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey on Wednesday showed economic activity in the US manufacturing sector continued to contract in February, but at a softer pace than in January.

At the close, the DJI Average added 5.0 points to 32,661.84 while the S&P 500 eased 18.76 points to 3,951.39.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice-president of equity research Thong Pak Leng noted that in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index had broken out from its slump on the back of strong economic data from China, suggesting a strong economic recovery.

“As for the local bourse, the FBM KLCI fell to just above the 1,450 level despite the regional improvement,” he said in reference to the local bourse performance yesterday. “Although we expect bargain-hunting activities to emerge anytime soon, the overall sentiment remains fragile following the sell-down two weeks ago.”

Thong reckons that investors are waiting for the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) monetary policy committee meeting next week on whether the overnight policy rate (OPR) would be revised higher.

“For now, we are betting that BNM may refrain from hiking the OPR before the Fed meeting on March 21 and 22,’’ he added.

Heavyweight counters IHH eased 7.0 sen to RM5.64, Petronas Chemicals was 5.0 sen lower at RM7.15 while Press Metal and Tenaga Nasional went down 4.0 sen each to RM5.11 and RM9.24, respectively.

MISC rose 13 sen to RM7.56, PPB added 26 sen to RM17.76 and Maybank was 1.0 sen higher at RM8.79.

As for active stocks, Jade Marvel was up 1.0 sen to 31 sen, IRIS gained half a sen to 11.5 sen and KNM was unchanged at 5.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index trimmed 2.81 points to 10,554.52, the FBMT 100 Index slid 2.52 points to 10,244.06 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index declined 3.04 points to 10,752.95.

The FBM 70 Index improved by 15.80 points to 13,433.97 while the FBM ACE Index added 11.64 points to 5,408.07.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index increased 0.47 point to 16,183.59, the Plantation Index advanced 5.83 points to 6,768.25 and the Energy Index bagged 1.28 points to 849.60.

The Industrial Products and Services Index eased by 0.46 point to 176.36. ― Bernama

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