At 9.23 am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) lost 1.90 points to 1,541.04 from Wednesday’s close of 1,542.94, after opening 1.81 points higher at 1,544.75 this morning. - NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia opened mixed in the early session today as market sentiment was affected by yesterday’s release of weaker-than-expected Malaysia’s fourth-quarter 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) and expectations of another round of interest rate cut.

At 9.23 am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) lost 1.90 points to 1,541.04 from Wednesday’s close of 1,542.94, after opening 1.81 points higher at 1,544.75 this morning.

On the broader market, gainers outpaced losers 207 to 172, with 246 counters unchanged, 1,353 untraded and 33 others suspended.

Turnover amounted to 331.90 million shares worth RM180.36 million.

In a note, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said Bursa equities underperformed its regional peers on the back of weakness in selected banking heavyweights amid expectations of another round of overnight policy rate (OPR) cut to combat the sluggish economic data.

Weakness in the economic performance might lead to foreign funds continue to back away from Malaysian equities over the foreseeable future, it said.

“We see the weakness remain intact for now as future economic performance at the start of the year to remain bleak, potentially due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak

“We reckon that the local bourse may experience further pullback towards the 1,535 level and firmer support will be located towards the 1,515 level. In the meantime, any upsides are capped towards the 1,560 resistance level,” it added.

Among heavyweights on Bursa Malaysia, Maybank and Tenaga were flat at RM8.46 and RM12.64, Public Bank gained eight sen to RM17.86 and Petronas Chemicals decreased seven sen to RM6.45.

Of the actives, Securemetric was unchanged at 15.5 sen, Powerwell added 2.5 sen to 27 sen and MYEG rose two sen to RM1.34.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index decreased 8.31 points to 11,002.53, the FBM Emas Shariah Index fell 14.37 points to 11,776.82 and the FBMT 100 Index declined 9.84 points to 10,796.95.

The FBM 70 was 1.60 points higher at 13,867.57 and the FBM Ace decreased 2.79 points to 5,626.67.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index inched down 0.38 of-a-point to 145.78, the Financial Services Index was 18.04 points higher at 14,633.67 and the Plantation Index rose 17.21 points to 7,330.22.-- Bernama