Friday August 3, 2012
Asian markets mostly lower, no thanks to Fed inaction
PETALING JAYA: Most key Asian markets were in the red yesterday as investors were disappointed that the US Federal Reserve took no action except to pledge to provide additional support for the world's largest economy if necessary during its meeting.
At Bursa Malaysia, blue chips closed higher, powered by gains in Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Petronas Gas Bhd. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia (FBM KLCI) was mostly in the red in the afternoon trade. The benchmark index, however, recovered its loses marginally.
It closed 0.98 point higher at 1,633.45 points. Market breadth remained negative with losers outnumbered gainers 465 to 303 while 346 counters remained unchanged. Overall volume was lower at 1.17 billion shares worth some RM1.64bil compared with Tuesday's 1.76 billion shares.
Analysts likened yesterday's index movements to that of a “yo-yo,” with prices moving from the plus to minus territory and vice-versa within minutes.
An analyst cautioned that the market could see range-bound trade in the absence of fresh leads and expected the market to be within the 1,625-1,635 trading range this week.
“Retail confidence is still slack though, which explains the yo-yo trend. More retailers will re-enter the market if the index sustains its gains this week. Many are taking profit after Monday's gain,” a dealer said, adding that investors would continue to take their cue from the United States.
Another analyst expects the market to continue to drift sideways in quiet trading as the end of the week approaches.
“Also, most global markets are now taking a breather, with foreign fund managers taking their summer break at around this time.
“We don't see the local market bucking the trend unless we have a very strong catalyst,” he said, adding that the price weakening in key index blue chips was a good opportunity to accumulate.
Among the 30 component stocks in the FBM KLCI, Petronas Gas jumped 70 sen to RM19.24, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd rose 24 sen to RM60.20 while TNB was 20 sen higher. Genting Bhd fell 20 sen to RM9.12, HLB was 24 sen lower at RM13.54 and Felda Global eased 7 sen to RM5.05.
Separately, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&N Malaysia) was the top performer as its major shareholder and Singapore-listed Fraser & Neave Ltd weighed a takeover bid by Heineken. F&N Ltd owns 56.2% of the Malaysian company. Shares of F&N Malaysia rose as much as 88 sen to RM20.
Elsewhere in the region, the Singapore Straits Times Index shed 14.89 points to 3,036.19 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 130.18 to 19,690.20 points.
The Jakarta Composite Index fell 37.35 points to 4,093.11. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 11.33 to 8,653.18 points.