KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed lower for the second consecutive day today with selling spotted across the board as the nationwide expansion of the movement control order (MCO) weighed on market sentiment.

Nevertheless, the better-than-expected first quarter of 2021 (1Q21) gross domestic product (GDP) performance helped to cushion the downside.

At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 6.28 points or 0.39% to 1,577.64 from yesterday’s close of 1,583.92.

The key index, which opened 4.61 points weaker at 1,579.31 this morning, fluctuated between 1,571.96 and 1,581.26 throughout the session.

Overall market breadth was negative as losers greatly outnumbered gainers 980 to 199, while 360 counters were unchanged, 629 untraded, and 12 others suspended.

Total volume decreased to 5.5 billion shares worth RM2.9 billion from 6.01 billion shares worth RM3.53 billion yesterday.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the whole country would be placed under the MCO from May 12 until June 7 to curb the recent spike in Covid-19 infections.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia announced today that the country’s economy recorded a 0.5% contraction in 1Q21 compared with a decrease of 3.4% in the preceding quarter, signalling a recovery with improvement seen in all economic sectors.

Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said Malaysia remained on track to achieve its forecast GDP growth of between 6% and 7.5% in 2021, riding on the recovery in domestic demand.

Commenting on the equity market, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd economist Adam Mohamed Rahim said the implementation of MCO nationwide has badly affected the overall market sentiment.

“The Q1 2021 economic performance was not sufficient to boost the local bourse as banking stocks under the FBM KLCI were either unchanged or lower during the day,” he said.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank shed five sen to RM8.19, PChem trimmed three sen to RM8.22, IHH Healthcare lost eight sen to RM5.58, while Public Bank was flat at RM4.10.

However, Tenaga added one sen to RM9.91 while Press Metal and Top Glove bagged two sen each to RM5.40 and RM5.18 respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index was 83.08 points lower at 11,533.26, the FBMT 100 Index declined 66.61 points to 11,211.43, the FBM Emas Shariah Index reduced 86.89 points to 12,935.22, the FBM ACE fell 241.35 points to 7,896.49, and the FBM 70 lost 174.51 points to 14,992.76.

Heavy selling was also spotted among the small capitalisation stocks which saw the FBMSCAP Index dipping 376.6 points to 16,475.04.

Main Market volume decreased to 3.33 billion shares valued at RM2.40 billion compared with 3.76 billion shares worth RM2.82 billion yesterday.

Volume on the ACE Market declined to 1.85 billion shares worth RM458.09 million from 1.91 billion shares worth RM683.27 million previously.

In conjunction with the Hari Raya holidays on Thursday and Friday, Bursa Malaysia and its subsidiaries will be closed from noon tomorrow.

However, clearing, settlement and depository services provided by Bursa Malaysia Depository and the offices of Bursa Malaysia Securities and Bursa Malaysia Derivatives will continue as usual and remain open until the end of the business day, the exchange said in a statement yesterday.

Bursa Malaysia will remain closed from May 13 to 16, and trading will resume on Monday.