KLCI cuts losses, ringgit stronger on new Bank Negara Governor

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 27): The FBM KLCI pared losses to close 0.16 point lower, helped by news on Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim's appointment as Bank Negara Malaysia's new governor.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in a statement today Muhammad Ibrahim's five-year term would start this Sunday (May 1). Muhammad Ibrahim will take over the helm of Bank Negara from Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,692.34 points after reaching an intraday low of 1,682.48. The ringgit appreciated against US dollar at 3.9150 as Brent crude oil traded higher at US$46.73 a barrel.

"The market performance today could have been boosted by the appointment of the new central bank governor as well as higher oil prices and the stronger ringgit," Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com.

Across Bursa Malaysia, there were 407 gainers versus 379 decliners. The bourse saw 1.73 billion shares worth RM1.87 billion traded.

Top gainer was Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd while top decliner was British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd. The most-active counter was Spring Gallery Bhd's irredeemable convertible preference shares (SGB-PA).

Pong said retail investors had bargain hunted for beaten-down Bursa Malaysia stocks after the KLCI fell 22.01 points yesterday.

Today, he said: "Retail (investors) were bargain hunting. Today is a good opportunity for that. The small caps are doing well today."

Asian share markets closed in negative territory. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.36% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.21%.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks were mostly lower on Wednesday as investors stayed cautious ahead of the US and Japanese central bank policy decisions, while crude oil prices hovered near 2016 highs.

According to Reuters' report, the Bank of Japan policymakers were likely to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss further easing, while the US Federal Reserve, which lifted its benchmark overnight interest rate in December for the first time in nearly a decade, is scheduled to meet on Wednesday.