KLCI down, ringgit weakens on Yellen's U.S. rate hike commment

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): The FBM KLCI fell 7.32 points or 0.4% as the ringgit weakened after the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the country's interest rate may rise in the "coming months".

At 5 p.m., the KLCI closed at 1,629.87 points. The ringgit weakened 0.9% to 4.1165 against the U.S. dollar.

"Since it may be a very bold move for the Fed to raise rates abruptly in June before the E.U. referendum vote, there is a very strong likelihood that July could be the golden month that U.S. rates are hiked," FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga wrote in a note today.

Bursa Malaysia saw 1.56 billion shares, valued at RM1.65 billion, traded. There were 546 decliners against 300 gainers.

Top decliner was Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, while leading gainer was Ajiya Bhd. Most active stocks included AirAsia Bhd and Mexter Technology Bhd.

Across regional share markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.39%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.26%. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1%.

According to Reuters, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off session lows, but still down 0.1%.

Reuters reported Asian shares edged down on Monday, while the dollar marked fresh highs after Yellen suggested an interest rate hike in the United States (U.S.) could be around the corner.