KLCI lower on profit taking, ringgit weakens

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 3): The FBM KLCI closed in negative territory on profit taking as China's economic data dragged Asian markets lower.

At 5pm, Malaysia's KLCI fell 1.81 points or 0.1% to close at 1,853.34 on losses in stocks like CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

Across Bursa Malaysia, decliners beat gainers by 449 to 422 while 288 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.86 billion shares valued at RM1.895 billion.

The top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Tasco Bhd and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd. Leading decliners included Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Harrisons Holdings (M) Bhd and LTKM Bhd.

Most-active traded stocks included Dagang NeXchange Bhd, Hubline Bhd and Censof Holdings Bhd.

A fund manager said the KLCI was traded in the red throughout the afternoon as the index was dragged down by banking and plantation stocks.

"KLCI would have declined further were it not for Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd cushioning the index," he told The Edge Markets.com over telephone.

Regionally, Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.34% to close at 23,915.97 while South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.58% to 1952.97. Japan markets were closed for a holiday today.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's ringgit weakened against a strengthening US dollar today in anticipation of interest rate hikes in the US. As at 4.12pm, the ringgit was quoted at 3.3145 versus the US dollar.

This compared to 3.1415 on August 28 this year.

Reuters reported that the US dollar powered to seven-year peaks against the yen on Monday and a two-year high on the euro, a punishing trend for commodities priced in dollars as gold, silver and oil all fell.

Disappointing surveys out of China's manufacturing and services sectors highlighted the relative health of the US economy, and piled pressure on other countries to ease monetary policy yet further.