FBM KLCI drops as banking stocks fall on BNM rate cut bets

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 24): The FBM KLCI pared losses today to close 0.6 point or 0.04% down at 1,592.33 after investors bargain hunted for index-linked stocks including banking entities, which had earlier dropped in anticipation Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) may further cut the overnight policy rate (OPR) this November, after the 25 basis point (bp) cut to 3% in May this year.

At a glance today, these banking stocks included Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and Public Bank Bhd. At 5pm, the KLCI pared losses after falling to its intraday low at 1,585.58.

MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd head of research Mohd Redza Abdul Rahman told theedgmarkets.com that "banking stocks, mainly Maybank and Public Bank, were affected by a report today that suggested that BNM may cut the OPR in November."

Today, Maybank's share price closed down seven sen or 0.8% at RM8.65 while Public Bank was down four sen or 0.2% at its intraday low at RM20.10.

Maybank pared losses after falling to its intraday low at RM8.62.

BNM's website showed that there will be one more Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting this year on Nov 5.

At the latest MPC meeting on Sept 12 this year, BNM said the MPC decided to maintain the OPR at 3%.

On May 7 this year, BNM said the MPC decided to reduce the OPR to 3%. During the previous meeting on March 5 this year, BNM said then that the MPC decided to maintain the OPR at 3.25%.