Bursa Malaysia managed to stay slightly ahead on Wednesday as investors worried that the renewed US pressure on China would trigger a sell-off in Asian markets.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was 0.4 points to 1,389.95. There was active trading with 3.95 billion shares traded for a value of RM1.58bil.
Market breadth was even with 403 gainers versus 392 decliners and 366 counters unchanged.
On Wednesday, investors grew anxious over the performance of China’s markets as it reopened for business after a Labour Day holiday that began last Friday.
While starting in the red, China’s benchmark index improved over the course of the morning session to cross into positive territory at midday, suggesting that investors were more focused on the prospect of easing lockdowns in major world economies than the threat of fresh US sanctions.
There were mixed results in Asian markets, while in Southeast Asia Singapore and Malaysia were the only two major markets that advanced.
Among index-linked stocks, Malaysian banks showed mixed results one day after the central bank cut the overnight policy rate by 50 basis points.
Maybank rose two sen to RM7.50 while Public Bank dropped eight sen to RM15.98 and Hong Leong Bank lost two sen to RM13.28. CIMB was unchanged at RM3.43.
In the telco sector, Axiata was up two sen to RM3.89, Maxis gained three sen to RM5.31 and Digi lost two sen to RM4.51.
Nestle, which released its quarterly result yesterday, slipped 20 sen to RM139.40 amid a weak earnings outlook.
On the most active list, Key Alliance climbed 2.5 sen to 12 sen, AT added one sen to 4.5 sen and SAPURA ENERGY slid 0.5 sen to 8.5 sen.
In commodities, oil lost its early gains amid a report that showed rising US crude inventories. Crude prices have been normalising in recent days as the reopening of global economies lifted the demand outlook.
Brent crude was down 22 cents to US$30.75 a barrel and US crude slid 25 cents to US$24.33 a barrel.
The ringgit was slightly lower against a basket of currencies. It dipped 0.1% agaisnt the US dollar at 4.3060 and 0.1% against the pound sterling at 5.3524. It was unchanged against the Singapore dollar at 3.0380.