KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia started the new week on Monday in the red on selling of key blue chips amid a weaker broader market as the country sees lower economic growth due to the pandemic and restrictions.

At 9.36am, the FBM KLCI was down 5.21 points or 0.34% to 1, 515.37. Turnover was 770.33 million shares valued at RM414.08mil. There were 228 gainers, 349 losers and 359 counters unchanged.

Malaysia will downgrade its economic growth outlook this year, according to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, signalling that it could see expansion around 4%, Bloomberg reported.

However, Asian shares were enjoying a relief rally on Monday as record highs on Wall Street and policy easing in China helped calm some of the recent jitters on global growth, though plenty of potential pitfalls lay ahead this week, according to Reuters.

China stocks rose in early trading on Monday, lifted by the central bank’s surprise cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) to support the economy.

The CSI300 index advanced 0.3% to 5, 081.87 points at 0137 GMT, while the Shanghai Composite Index also gained 0.3% to 3, 534.93 points.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.8%, to 27, 552.64 points.

In the United States, inflation data could provide a scare ahead of testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday and Thursday, where markets will be hyper-sensitive to any talk of early tapering.

At Bursa last week, foreign investors remained net sellers which saw outflow amounting to -RM323.98mil. This was the third consecutive week of net selling by the foreign investors, MIDF Research said. Since January, foreign funds have been net sellers at RM4.64bil.

Local institutions were net buyers at RM12.10mil last week but year-to-date, they were net sellers at RM3.88b.

Overall, the local stock market has been propped up by local retail investors. Last week, they were net buyers at RM311.87mil while year-to-date, it totalled RM8.52bil.

Oil prices were little changed in early Asian trade on Monday as an impasse in talks among key producers to raise output in coming months kept supplies tight, offsetting concerns about coronavirus’ impact on the global economy, Reuters reported.

Brent crude for September fell 4 cents to $75.51 a barrel by 0032 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for August was at $74.57 a barrel, up 1 cent.

At Bursa, MPI fell 72 sen to RM40.28, PPB 18 sen to RM18.16, Khind 16 sen to RM3.05, Asdion 13 sen to 29 sen, Petronas Dagangan 12 sen to RM18.68, Y&G 11 sen to RM1.13, Maybank six sen to RM8.07 and Petronas Chemicals three sen to RM8.03.

However, HLFG added eight sen to RM17.90, KL Kepong two sen to RM19.84 and RHB Bank one sen to RM5.26.

Hightec was the top gained, up 77 sen to RM6.41, UMS 69 sen to RM3.02, Widetec 32 sen to RM5.70 and SKB Shutters 14 sen to RM2.02 in the absence of any positive catalysts.

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