KLCI down 1.88% as ringgit weakens to 4.35 to US dollar

KLCI down 1.88% as ringgit weakens to 4.35 to US dollar
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 17): The FBM KLCI cut losses to close down 24.05 points or 1.88% at 1,256.58 on bargain hunting for beaten down Malaysian shares as investors weighed the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ringgit weakened to 4.3500 against a strengthening US dollar.

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,256.58 after falling to its intraday low at 1,211.95. The KLCI extended its drop today after closing down 64.12 points or 4.77% yesterday at 1,280.63 as investors evaluated the effectiveness of global central banks’ monetary policies to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and after China reported its latest industrial output numbers, which fell below market forecast.

Today, the KLCI’s drop did not surprise analysts, who have been anticipating further downside volatility in the local stock market.

"Due to failure of the US central bank and coordinated monetary stimulus from major central bankers to stall a selloff in global financial markets, further downside volatility is on the cards today,” TA Securities Holdings Bhd said in a note.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 4.43 billion shares worth RM3.87 billion were traded. There were 713 decliners versus 267 gainers.

Top decliners included Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Public Bank Bhd and Maxis Bhd. 

Most-active stocks included AirAsia Group Bhd, with some 74 million shares traded. The stock’s price closed down 7.5 sen or 10.71% at 62.5 sen as world markets took cue from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Globally, it was reported that Asian shares held their ground on Tuesday in a volatile session following one of Wall Street’s biggest one-day routs in history as headlines about the coronavirus outbreak and its global economic impact whiplashed investor sentiment.

"Financial markets cratered on Monday with the S&P 500 tumbling 12%, its biggest drop since "Black Monday" three decades ago, as a series of emergency central bank rate cuts globally only added to the recent sense of investor panic,” Reuters said.

In currency markets, the ringgit depreciated 0.99% to its weakest level today at 4.3500 against a strengthening US dollar at the time of writing. 

The US Dollar Index (DXY), which tracks the strength of the US dollar against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.54% to 98.6010.