KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended lower on Wednesday, tracking losses in regional bourses, as investors awaited the key US inflation data.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI closed down 5.35 points, or 0.36% to 1,492.33, with 16 of the FBM KLCI component stocks closing lower.
Market breadth turned negative as losers outnumbered gainers 601 to 242, with 2.16 billion shares worth RM1.68bil changing hands.
Along with investors' profit-taking, dealers said investors were also concerned about the Federal Reserve's policy tightening.
The inflation data expected to be released at 1230 GMT on Wednesday could provide clues on the Federal Reserve's path of monetary policy tightening.
“We're seeing plenty of apprehensions ahead of the US inflation report on Wednesday, with Asia in the red and Europe following suit,” Oanda senior market analysts, UK & EMEA Craig Erlam said.
“It's impossible to get away from the fact that the inflation report has held the markets back this week. There's clearly a desperate desire to be more optimistic about the outlook; that's evident from the scale of the recovery already seen in equity markets despite there being seemingly little to celebrate,” he said.,
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“I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that today's inflation number could set the tone for the markets for the rest of the month.
“A lower than expected number could be a major tailwind for the markets while anything around or above the June reading could trigger a big risk reversal in the markets as the debate shifts to 75 or 100 basis points, with 50 left in the rearview mirror,” he added.
On Bursa Malaysia, Malaysian Pacific Industries tumbled RM1.08 to RM30.82, ViTrox lost 28 sen to RM7.22 and F&N eased 28 sen to RM22.50.
Hartalega fell 35 sen, or 12.5% to RM2.45, its lowest since 2017. Year-to-date, the counter has fallen some 56%.
Among the gainers, Dutch Lady rose 66 sen to RM33, Nestle gained 60 sen to RM135.30, Texchem added 29 sen to RM3.19 and Kuala Lumpur Kepong advanced 24 sen to RM22.50.
Asian bourses closed lower today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.96% to 19,610.84 in its biggest daily drop in about a week.
China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.54% to 3,230.02, and CSI 300 index eased 1.12% to 4,109.73.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.65% to 27,819.33 while South Korea’s fell 0.9% to 2,480.88.