KLCI down 1.01pts, ringgit weakens

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 24): The FBM KLCI fell 1.01 points or 0.1% while the ringgit weakened after stronger US housing numbers led to expectation of US interest rate hikes in the near term.

Malaysian shares and the ringgit also weakened on crude oil losses. At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,682.06 points after reaching its intraday low of 1,678.93 points.

The ringgit depreciated to 4.0405 against a strengthening US dollar as US rate hike expectation led to demand for US dollar-denominated assets.

The KLCI fell with certain Asian share markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.77% while South Korea's Kospi declined 0.3%.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks edged lower on Wednesday as strong US housing data overnight increased the chances of an interest rate increase in coming months, prompting some investors to take profits, while oil prices slipped after a surprise jump in US inventories.

Brent oil fell 1.5% on Wednesday on an unexpected increase in US crude stocks that revived worries about the supply glut that has capped prices for the past two years. Global benchmark Brent crude was down 74 US cents (RM2.99) at US$49.22 a barrel at 0809 GMT, after touching an intraday low of US$49.07.

In Malaysia, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd technical analyst Loui Low Ley Yee told theedgemarkets.com the KLCI's 1,680-point level was a crucial indicator of the index's direction.

"If the index fell below 1,680, we could see further selling pressures," Low said.

Bursa Malaysia saw 1.94 billion shares valued at RM1.77 billion traded. Decliners beat gainers at 519 against 253 respectively.

DKSH Holdings (M) Bhd led gainers while Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd was the top decliner. The most-actively traded stock was AirAsia X Bhd.