KLCI drops 10 points, ringgit weakens on US rate hike prospect

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sep 12): The FBM KLCI closed 10.47 points or 0.56% lower while the ringgit weakened against the US dollar on a widely speculated, imminent hike in US interest rates.

At 5pm, the KLCI ended at 1,855.64 points as investors sold stocks with high foreign shareholdings.

The KLCI-linked stocks were the top five decliners across Bursa Malaysia,including PPB Group Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

The ringgit weakened to RM3.1395 today against the US dollar as US rate hike prospects resulted in demand for US-dollar denominated assets. This compares to RM 3.1463 on August 27 this year.

Stephen Soo, senior technical analyst with TA Securities Holdings Bhd, said the KLCI trade today had been “lacklustre” and “softer”.

“The KLCI has broken its support of 1863 points today which was last week’s level. The next level that the market will challenge would be at 1849 points.

“As far as the index is concerned, it is indicating weakness for the coming week,” Soo said.

Soo said global geopolitical concerns played a part in today’s market dynamics.

He said market sentiment was affected by news of the US and the European Union’s new sanctions on Russia taking effect today due to Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

“Besides that, US’s commitment to fight the Islamic state and also the Scottish referendum vote next week have impacted the market,” Soo said.

Bursa Malaysia saw 2.49 billion shares valued at RM2.23 billion traded. British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd and KSL Holdings Bhd were among top gainers.

The most actively traded stock was Nexgram Holdings Bhd.

Regionally, South Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei were up 0.38% and 0.25% respectively. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.27%.