FBM KLCI cuts losses ahead of Bank Negara rate decision

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24): The FBM KLCI pared losses to close one point or 0.1% lower today as the ringgit strengthened ahead of Bank Negara Malaysia's interest rate decision tomorrow (Jan 25). Analysts said anticipation of Malaysia's 14th general election (GE14) this year could have also dictated market sentiment.

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,837.04 points after stooping to its intraday low at 1,834.49 points. The ringgit appreciated to its strongest level against the US dollar today at 3.9118. Over the last one year, the exchange rate was between 3.9118 and 4.4618.

Tomorrow, Bank Negara's monetary policy committee (MPC) is scheduled to decide on the country's overnight policy rate (OPR). Bank Negara's MPC had during its latest meeting on Nov 9, 2017 decided to maintain the OPR at 3%.

Today, GE14 expectation could have led to cautious market sentiment. "There's a general cautious tone in the market today as investors may still be waiting for the announcement of the date for the next GE," Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd analyst Lawrence Yeo told theedgemarkets.com.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 3.36 billion shares worth RM2.43 billion were traded. The top decliner was Petronas Gas Bhd followed by Hartalega Holdings Bhd.

Petronas Gas fell 46 sen to RM17.70 with 294,900 shares traded.