KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI ended Monday on a negative note, its third straight day of losses as profit-taking continued ahead of the year-end holiday season and fears of a new strain of coronavirus threatened the global recovery outlook.At 5pm, the key index ended 4.6 points lower at 1,647.89, after having lost over 10 points earlier in the day.Trading volume was 8.09 billion shares valued at RM3.67bil. Market breadth was negative with 848 decliners compared to 394 gainers.An analyst speaking to StarBiz said the profit-taking in recent days was owing to thinning liquidity ahead of the coming festivities, especially after a strong rally in November.Meanwhile, he believes that the euphoria surrounding the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccines could have been priced in for the short term."November and December data are starting to reflect the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and impact from targeted lockdown reimplementation," he added.Over the next two days, the price action in the market could signal bullish investors' sentiment as seen during 2018's year-end rally."While investors had turned positive in 2018 due to the Fed's dovish turn on interest rates, market participants could similarly be energised by the US$900bil US fiscal stimulus this time around."On the flipside, given the already elevated share prices, market players could stay on the sidelines until 1H 2021," he said.Bank stocks, which have been a driver of the market's rally earlier in the week, were seen mixed amid the broader retreat.Maybank was up two sen to RM8.48, Public Bank rose two sen to RM20.66, CIMB dropped eight sen to RM4.30 and Hong Leong Bank was flat at RM18.58.Global stocks were also seen stumbling on news that UK and other parts of Europe could face new lockdown measures following the discovery of a fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus.The prospect of new economic shutdowns offset the news that US policymakers had reached a deal for a US$900bil relief package, resulting in mixed results in Asian markets.MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan slipped 0.2% after hitting successive new highs last week.In Japan, the Nikkei fell 0.4% to come off a nearly 30-year high while South Korea's Kospi managed to hold on to a 0.2% lead.China's benchmark index ended 0.8% higher and Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.7%. Australia's ASX 200 ended just 0.1% lower.
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