BURSA MALAYSIA ENDS ON FIRM NOTE

SHARIFAH PIRDAUS SYED ALI

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Bernama) -- Bursa Malaysia ended on a firm note today, supported by buying in heavyweight stocks amid positive market sentiment following Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) move to cut the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR).

At 5 pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) rose 11.31 points to 1,489.95 from Tuesday’s close of 1,478.64.

After opening 0.31 point easier at 1,478.33 this morning, the benchmark index moved between 1,474.95 and 1,491.07 throughout the day. 

On the broader market, losers edged out gainers 464 to 431, with 338 counters unchanged, 765 untraded and 18 others suspended.

Turnover shrank to 2.99 billion shares worth RM2.37 billion from 3.08 billion shares worth RM2.49 billion on Tuesday.

A dealer said the local bourse opened easier but rebounded thereafter and remained steady throughout the trading day due to buying in heavyweight stocks, particularly the financial and telecommunication stocks.

Yesterday BNM announced a 25-basis point rate cut, the second for this year, to cushion the economy from any associated risk arising from the coronavirus outbreak, a move in line with dovish measures undertaken by several central banks across the globe.

This had contributed to the positive performance on the local bourse, the dealer noted.

“Local stocks reacted positively to BNM's OPR cut announced yesterday amid lingering COVID-19 fears.

“The rate cut complements the RM20 billion stimulus package and should help address the downside risks to the economy from the COVID-19 impact,” he said.

He added that the performance was in line with the better performance of Asian stock markets. This was despite overnight losses on Wall Street after an emergency US interest cut aimed at defusing fears over the coronavirus outbreak failed to cheer the market.

Regionally, Japan’s Nikkei index edged up 0.08 per cent to 21,100.06, Singapore's Straits Times lndex gained 0.18 per cent to 3,024.91, South Korea's KOSPI Composite Index climbed 2.24 per cent to 2,059.33, Shanghai’s Stock Exchange Index rose 0.63 per cent to 3,011.67 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index eased 0.24 per cent to 26,222.07. 

Among the heavyweights, Maybank gained six sen to RM8.47, Tenaga added eight sen to RM12.58, Public Bank rose 14 sen to RM17.90 and CIMB increased four sen to RM4.54. However, IHH was flat at RM5.60.

Of the actives, Tiger Synergy and Sapura Energy eased half-a-sen each to three sen and 16.5 sen respectively, Careplus added 3.5 sen to 31 sen, Xidelang gained one sen to 16.5 sen and Vortex was flat at eight sen.

-- MORE