KLCI closes at intraday low, tracking SEA bourses

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): The FBM KLCI fell to its intraday low as investors took profit from earlier gains amid losses in neighbouring bourses.

Technical analysts said the decline in KLCI futures had also led to losses in the index today. At 5pm, the KLCI fell 5.12 points or 0.29% to settle at 1,781.75.

For comparison, Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.32%, Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index was down 0.25% while the Thailand's SET index fell 0.14%.

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd regional chartist Lee Cheng Hooi told theedgemarkets.com: “A poor performance today suggests that the KLCI took its cue from the softer ASEAN markets, rather than the firmer North Asian markets as well as the US markets."

“With the March KLCI futures now at an 8.83-point discount against the KLCI, I see little reason to be bullish in the near term,” Lee said.

North Asian markets rose. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.39%, South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.77% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 0.1% higher.

Bursa Malaysia saw some 2.96 billion shares worth RM1.82 billion traded. There were 471 decliners versus 372 gainers while 308 counters were unchanged.

British American Tobacco (M) Bhd led decliners, while the gainers were headed by United U-LI Corp Bhd. The top active stock was Sumatec Resources Bhd.

The ringgit strengthed against other currencies as crude oil prices rose. According to Bloomberg data, the ringgit was traded at RM3.6855 against the US dollar and RM2.6602 against the Singapore dollar.

Reuters reported that oil prices steadied after an overnight sell-off following estimates showing another big supply build at the delivery point for the U.S. crude contract.

U.S. crude edged up about 0.3 percent to US$47.17 a barrel after plunging 2.3 percent in the previous session, while Brent edged slightly higher to US$57.09 after shedding nearly 1 percent.