Nationwide MCO expansion drags Bursa to end lower

BURSA Malaysia closed lower for the second consecutive day today with selling spotted across the board as the nationwide expansion of the movement control order (MCO) weighed on market sentiment.

Nevertheless, the better-than-expected first-quarter 2021 (Q1 2021) gross domestic product (GDP) performance helped to cushion the downside.

At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 6.28 points or 0.39% to 1,577.64 from Monday’s close of 1,583.92.

The key index, which opened 4.61 points weaker at 1,579.31 this morning, fluctuated between 1,571.96 and 1,581.26 throughout the session.

Overall market breadth was negative as losers greatly outnumbered gainers 980 to 199, while 360 counters were unchanged, 629 untraded, and 12 others suspended.

Total volume decreased to 5.5 billion shares worth RM2.9 bil from 6.01 billion shares worth RM3.53 bil on Monday.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the whole country would be placed under the MCO from May 12 until June 7 to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 infections.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia today announced the country’s economy recorded a 0.5% contraction in Q1 2021 compared with a decrease of 3.4% in the preceding quarter, signalling a recovery with improvement seen in all economic sectors.

Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said Malaysia remained on track to achieve its forecast Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of between 6.0% and 7.5% in 2021, riding on the recovery in domestic demand. 

Commenting on the equity market, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said the implementation of MCO nationwide has badly affected the overall market sentiment.

“The Q1 2021 economic performance was not sufficient to boost the local bourse as banking stocks under the FBM KLCI were either unchanged or lower during the day,” he told Bernama.

Among the heavyweights, Malayan Banking Bhd shed five sen to RM8.19, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd trimmed three sen to RM8.22, IHH Healthcare Bhd lost eight sen to RM5.58, while Public Bank Bhd was flat at RM4.10.

However, Tenaga Nasional Bhd added one sen to RM9.91 while Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd bagged two sen each to RM5.40 and RM5.18 respectively.

Of the actives, Focus Dynamics Group Bhd slid 1.5 sen to 6.5 sen, Fintec Global Bhd inched down half-a-sen to four sen, while Pegasus Heights Bhd and AT Systematization Bhd were both flat at two sen and nine sen respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index was 83.08 points lower at 11,533.26, the FBMT 100 Index declined 66.61 points to 11,211.43, the FBM Emas Shariah Index reduced 86.89 points to 12,935.22, the FBM ACE fell 241.35 points to 7,896.49, and the FBM 70 lost 174.51 points to 14,992.76.

Heavy selling was also spotted among the small capitalisation stocks which saw the FBMSCAP Index dipping 376.6 points to 16,475.04.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index gave up 83.44 points to 14,706.1, the Industrial Products and Services Index slipped 1.82 points to 197.34, and the Plantation Index decreased 93.82 points to 7,056.31. – May 11, 2021

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