Banking, plantation stocks weigh KLCI down; ringgit weaker

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 22): Selling pressure on banking and plantation stocks dragged the FBM KLCI into the negative zone, while the ringgit weakened ahead of Malaysia's foreign currency reserve announcement today.

At 5pm, the KLCI fell 4.1 points or 0.3% to settle at 1,635.37 points, on losses in stocks like Public Bank Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd. Both stocks ended among Bursa Malaysia's top decliners.

"Shares in CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Public Bank Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd continue to be the targets for selling," Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong told theedgemarkets.com.

The KLCI had extended losses after closing 29.98 points lower at 1,639.47 points yesterday. The weaker sentiment followed comments by Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz yesterday, who said the ringgit would recover when there is greater clarity on 1Malaysia Development Bhd issues.

In currency markets today, the ringgit depreciated to 4.3042 against the US dollar. Compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit weakened to 3.0400.

Bursa Malaysia saw 424 gainers versus 322 decliners. Some 1.99 billion shares, valued RM1.96 billion, exchanged hands.

Top gainers included Triplc Bhd, United U-Li Corp Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd. The most actively-traded stocks included IFCA MSC Bhd, AirAsia Bhd and Aemulus Holdings Bhd.

Across Asia, South Korea's Kospi gained 0.88%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.18%.

Reuters reported Asian shares rose on Tuesday, and the dollar held steady as US markets bounced back, and the European Central Bank said it was prepared to ease monetary policy further.

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