KLCI falls 0.5%, ringgit weakens on US rate hike prospect

-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 15): The FBM KLCI pared losses after a major drop this morning as foreign funds loaded off their holdings in local equities in anticipation of a US interest rate hike.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed 8.34 points or 0.45% lower at 1,847.3 points. The KLCI had earlier fallen  19.41 points or 1% to an intraday low at 1,836.50. The ringgit weakened to RM3.2257 against the US dollar.

Blue chips, which declined included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT), IOI Corp Bhd, UMW Holdings Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd.

Goh Kay Chong, senior remisier at SJ Securities, attributed today’s “bad” performance in the local market to the expectation of an interest rate hike in the US. The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will hold a two-day meeting beginning tomorrow (Tuesday).

“Foreign funds have been net sellers for the past few weeks, although local funds helped to support the bourse.

“The market is now in a down cycle. But that said, there are some lower liners that are still performing due to market play and cheap valuations," Goh told theedgemalaysia.com.

Etiqa Insurance & Takaful investment management division’s Head of Research Chris Eng said the sharp drop in the KLCI during early trades was due to foreign investors.

“It was a little bit surprising to see the sharp drop, especially after the lower close of last Friday (which saw the KLCI shed 10.47 points). However, the trading volume today was rather thin and the blue chips that were sold earlier this morning eventually recovered,” Eng told theedgemalaysia.com.

Today’s total traded shares on the broader market came to 1.94 billion valued at RM1.75 billion.
Decliners, however, nearly tripled gainers at 636 and 214 respectively.

Eng said that for the remainder of the week, he expected the market to remain quiet but the KLCI would eventually be traded above the 1,850-range.

On the broader market, Globaltec Formation Bhd was the most actively traded entity. It was followed by I-Bhd’s loan rights shares and DGB Asia Bhd.

Today’s top gainers included United Plantations Bhd, Metal Reclamation Bhd and Narra Industries Bhd.

BAT was the biggest decliner.