Weekly FMB KLCI Feb 20 REVIEW: It has become clear that further evidence of an economic recovery would be required to take the FBM KLCI into more bullish territory. Initially, the surge in crude oil prices was received with much fanfare. Coupled with the acceleration of coronavirus vaccination programmes around the world (and Malaysia’s own impending launch), the signs pointed towards an economic recovery. For oil producer Malaysia, a recovery in the cost of the commodity past the US$65 a barrel mark helped to lift the overall mood even as investors remained cautious over the results of the corporate earnings season. Coming out of the Chinese New Year weekend, Bursa Malaysia had latched on to the upswell of buying in global equities as the mass inoculation of the world’s population began to see results. In the US, the average daily infection rate had dropped to about 81,000 cases, which was only 33% of the peak level recorded in January this year. Wall Street was also in a bullish mood as support grew for US President Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus. It provided the impetus for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to hit successively higher records over the week. For a while, it seemed that the confluence of positive vibes were leading to a breakout on the domestic market. With the FBM KLCI jumping 8.65 points to 1,608.07 in the first post-holiday trading day, there was optimism that the rally would be sustained given the four straight days of advance. The 50-day simple moving average (SMA) sat close by near 1,620, suggesting that the growing momentum would see the key index smash through into bullish territory. However, profit-taking ensued over the next three days with the FBM KLCI losing over 30 points. The higher crude oil prices, which returned below US$65 a barrel yesterday, was not expected to last long as Saudi Arabia planned to raise production to capitalise on the higher prices. Also, the earnings season was a deterrent as investors adopted a cautious approach before committing themselves past the resistance. As the results of Corporate Malaysia’s performance in the final quarter of 2020 roll in, investors will get a better gauge of prospects, moving forward. Following the dip below 1,580 to 1,575.84 on Thursday, the risk of a sustained retreat came into the picture. Yesterday’s rebound as investors took positions in bargains secured the 1,580 support. The index ended the day 9.09 points higher at 1,584.93. Looking further ahead, however, a smooth rollout of Malaysia’s vaccination programme at month’s end could serve as a positive development investors are waiting for. Statistics: The major index ended the week 14.49 points or 0.9% lower over the previous Thursday at 1,584.93. Total turnover for the trading week stood at 61.62 billion shares amounting to RM28.8bil compared with 22.28 billion shares worth RM14.88bil in the previous holiday-shortened trading week. Outlook: The FBM KLCI’s retreat from the 50-day SMA to end near the 1,580 support showed that investors are quick to cash in on gains in light of the uncertainties ahead. With a raft of corporate earnings due to be released next week, they are adopting a wait-and-see approach to assess the pandemic’s impact and recovery. The technical indicators suggest continued weakness as the slow-stochastic descends into oversold territory. The MACD is approaching a negative crossing of the signal line, which in doing would signal strong bearish momentum ahead. Short of a convincing breach below 1,580, the FBM KLCI is expected to travel sideways between the 1,580 and 1,620 range for the time being with the 50 and 100-day SMA lines serving as buffers on both sides. Further points of resistance and support are found at 1,650 and 1,560, respectively.
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