(Updated)

KLCI falls to six-month low on Covid woes before recovering slightly

KLCI falls to six-month low on Covid woes before recovering slightly
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 21): The FBM KLCI fell today as Malaysian stocks closed broadly lower for the third straight day as investor sentiment continued to be affected by the high number of Covid-19 infections and deaths reported by the country.

The benchmark index closed 0.83% or 13.15 points lower at 1,562.17, its lowest since Feb 24.  

The KLCI had in early trading slumped 23.25 points or 1.47% to a more than six-month low of 1,552.07.

For the week as  a whole, the KLCI is down 1.37% or 21.75 points against last week’s closing of 1,583.92.

TA Securities Holdings Bhd senior technical analyst Stephen Soo said the sharp fall in the morning was due to panic selling, which may reflect investors’ anxiety over the possibility of  a full lockdown being imposed in view of the current high Covid-19 infections.

Malaysia recorded 6,493 Covid-19 cases today, after a record high of 6,806 and 6,075 new infections in the past two days.

“The market is waiting for the Government to announce more stimulus to boost the current already weak sentiment. In the absence of this catalyst we could expect further weakness and lacklustre trade to be seen,” Soo told The Edge.

He said the key uptrend support for the KLCI is 1,552, followed by 1,540 and 1,520, while the resistance levels are 1,580 and 1,600.

On the broader market today, decliners outnumbered gainers 880 to 330. A total of 7.53 billion shares worth RM4.14 billion were transacted.

Heavyweights that fell the most in percentage terms included Axiata Group Bhd (down 4.23% or 15 sen to RM3.40), Hartalega Holdings Bhd (down 3.43% or 34 sen to RM9.58 and Petronas Dagangan Bhd  (down 2.81% or 54 sen to RM18.70).

All but three of Bursa Malaysia's indices closed lower with the exceptions being the technology index (up 0.03% at 75.51), FBM Ace (up 0.3% at 7,624.87) and FTSE Asean 40 (steady at 9,868.51).

Meanwhile, the healthcare index was hit the most, dropping 1.47% to 3,137.08.

Notable losers included Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery (M) Bhd, Widetech (M) Bhd, Vitrox Corp Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd and PPB Group Bhd.

Top gainers included Heineken (M) Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, Sedania Innovator Bhd, Genting Bhd, ATA IMS Bhd, D&O Green Technologies Bhd, TIME dotCom Bhd and Lotte Chemical TItan Holdings Bhd.

The most actively traded stocks were Focus Dynamics Group Bhd, Sedania Innovator, Vsolar Group Bhd, LKL International Bhd, mTouche Technology Bhd,Fintech Global Bhd, Komarkcorp Bhd, Grand-Flo Bhd, Saudee Group Bhd and Eka Noodles Bhd.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.78%, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.19%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched up 0.03% and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index closed down 1.18%.

S Kanagaraju