KLCI down on China, US data; RM weakens vs US$

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 24): The FBM KLCI lost 1.68 points or 0.1%, tracking Asian shares on China economic growth concerns and weaker US equities.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,720.76. The index pared losses after falling to an intraday low of 1,712.49.

Reuters reported US stocks fell for the third straight day on Thursday, after disappointing corporate results and forecasts added to concerns about the U.S. profit outlook.

Today, Asian equities stumbled on Friday, after a survey showed China's manufacturing activity crumbled to 15-month lows, rekindling concerns for the region's exports, as the world's second-largest economy struggles to arrest a broad downturn.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.67%, while South Korea's Kospi was down 0.93%. In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.06% lower, while the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.3%.

In Malaysia, a remisier with a local investment bank said negative investor sentiment was most likely related to Wall Street’s decline.
 
He also mentioned BNP Paribas' report, which highlighted the deterioration in Malaysia's external finances.

“These factors could have led to the sombre mood among investors, evidenced by the drop in the KLCI today,” he told theedgemarkets.com.

Bursa Malaysia saw 1.75 billion shares, valued at RM1.5 billion, traded. There were 424 gainers and 416 decliners.

Top gainers included P.I.E Industrial Bhd and Taliworks Corp Bhd. Major decliners included RHB Capital Bhd and Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd.

The most actively-traded counter was 1Utopia Bhd.

In currency markets, the ringgit weakened to 3.8120 against the US dollar, and compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit strenghened to 2.78.

Reuters reported most emerging Asian currencies fell on Friday, extending their declines for the week, as a disappointing survey on China's manufacturing activity added to worries about a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.