KLCI down 7.09pts on plantation shares; ringgit depreciates

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 23): The FBM KLCI lost 0.4%, dragged down by plantation shares and weaker overnight US markets.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed 7.09pts down at 1,722.44 on losses in plantation shares like PPB Group Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd. Both stocks ended among Bursa Malaysia top decliners.

Plantation shares' losses had tracked palm oil prices. Reuters reported Malaysian palm oil futures declined on Thursday, extending losses into a second session, following declines in competing markets and news that Russia was considering imposing limits on the use of tropical oil.

Reuters also reported Asian shares edged lower today, as mixed regional data and overnight declines on Wall Street prompted investors to take profits, while the dollar held steady as expectations for a rise in U.S interest rates were strengthened by buoyant home sales.

In Malaysia, JF Apex analyst Lee Cherng Wee said the KLCI’s performance was unexciting, following overnight losses on Wall Street.

“From a technical aspect, the market (KLCI) failed to break the resistance level of 1,740 points, due to the absence of fresh catalysts.

"We would have to wait for next week to see if there are any new catalysts that could excite the market,” Lee told theedgemarkets.com.

The KLCI's decline came amid Asian shares' gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.46%, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.44%, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.02%.

Bursa Malaysia saw 1.76 billion shares, valued at RM1.69 billion, traded. There were 491 gainers and 317 decliners, while 320 counters remained unchanged.

Top gainers included Taliworks Corp Bhd and MKH Bhd, while the most actively-traded counter was Datasonic Group Bhd.

The weaker ringgit was closely watched. The ringgit weakened against the US dollar at 3.8060 and compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit depreciated to 2.7843.

Reuters reported sentiment towards most emerging Asian currencies deteriorated in the last two weeks, as expectations grew that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as September, according to a Reuters survey.