In a mid-morning trading session, Malaysian stock prices experienced a sharp decline, aligning with the ongoing softness observed in global equities markets. This drop came as investors eagerly awaited the release of critical US economic data. The data is expected to shed light on the future rate decisions of the US Federal Reserve.
As of 12:30 pm, the benchmark FBM KLCI recorded a 4.18-point decrease, settling at 1,433.94. The market achieved a near balance, with 363 stocks declining and 338 stocks gaining. The total trading volume reached 1.54 billion shares, with a total value of RM850.01 million.
Simultaneously, regional markets encountered similar challenges, with investors offloading equities to levels not seen in over 11 months. Rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have exacerbated these concerns. Furthermore, market participants were keeping a close watch on the upcoming US third-quarter gross domestic product report. The report is scheduled for release on Thursday. Participants are also looking out for the Federal Reserve’s meetings on October 31 and November 1.
In addition to these factors, the technology sector is anticipating the impact of high-profile corporate earnings reports from giants such as Microsoft, Meta, Platforms, and Amazon.
Regional markets in decline too
Turning to regional markets, Japan’s Nikkei posted a 0.7% decline, closing at 30,774, while South Korea’s Kospi slid by 0.15% to reach 2,353.
China’s composite index, following a recent slump, managed to rebound by 0.4% to 2,950, primarily driven by bargain-hunting activities. In contrast, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined by 0.7%, ending at 17,059.
Within Bursa Malaysia, the market seemed more red. Most blue-chip counters remained in the red. Notably, Press Metal and bank stocks spearheaded this retreat. Press Metal saw a nine sen drop to RM4.77, while Maybank shed three sen, closing at RM9.86. Public Bank experienced a one sen slip to RM4.15, CIMB fell three sen to RM5.63, and Hong Leong Bank lost four sen, closing at RM19.40.
The top active stocks included Widad, which dropped by seven sen to 46.5 sen, Metronic, sliding 0.5 sen to 1.5 sen, and Revenue, which increased by two sen to 23 sen. In total, the market remained under pressure, influenced by both global and regional factors, causing investors to tread cautiously.