(Updated)

KLCI retreats to 1,623.14 points after opening higher amid lack of catalysts, flat US futures

KLCI retreats to 1,623.14 points after opening higher amid lack of catalysts, flat US futures
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4): The FBM KLCI had dropped by 4.07 points to 1,623.14 points at 9.05am this morning after opening 1.8 points higher.

There were 180 gainers versus 661 losers, with 325 counters unchanged. Total shares traded stood at 1.35 billion units worth RM902.88 million.

Early losers included Supermax Corp Bhd, Yinson Holdings Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, Greatech Technology Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd.

Reuters reported that investors were cautiously watching run-off elections in Georgia for two US Senate seats tomorrow that will determine which party controls the Senate.

If the Republicans win one or both, they will retain a slim majority in the chamber and can block President-elect Joe Biden's legislative goals and judicial nominees.

"If Democrats win both races, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving the party unified control of the White House and Congress," noted analysts at CBA.

"This would raise the likelihood a material US infrastructure spending package getting fast-tracked through Congress."

Oil prices had steadied after a couple of months of solid gains, with Brent meeting resistance around US$52.50 (RM210.10) a barrel, it said.

In a note, Rakuten Trade's research team said Asian markets closed mostly higher at the end of 2020.

"Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.31% or 84 points to 27,231.1, and Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.72% or 58.6 points to the 3,473.1 level.

"Dow Jones and the S&P 500 Index hit all-time-highs on the last trading day of 2020, wrapping up a volatile year. Dow Jones advanced 196.9 points to 30,606.5, and the S&P 500 Index rose 0.64% to 3,756.1 points. Meanwhile, technology-led Nasdaq Composite Index settled 18.3 points higher at 12,888.3 last Thursday," it said.

The team expected regional markets to be subdued as Covid-19 cases had spiked with some countries mulling further lockdowns.

"Meanwhile, we expect the local bourse to see a weaker opening as well from a lack of catalysts with the US futures remaining flat. Therefore, we see the KLCI to possibly test the 1,620/25 range today. News of the termination of the [Kuala Lumpur-Singapore] High Speed Rail (HSR) may prompt some selling of construction and building material stocks today. On the bright side, the ringgit has continued with its strengthening against the USD (US dollar) now at RM4.02, which is positive to importers, namely auto stocks," it said.