KLCI extends losses ahead of US rate decision

KLCI extends losses ahead of US rate decision
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 10): The FBM KLCI fell 10.71 points or 0.6%, tracking Asian shares amid still-weak crude oil prices and anticipation of the US interest rate decision.

US policy makers will meet this Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec 15 and 16) to decide on the country's monetary policy. A US rate hike does not bode well for emerging Asian markets like Malaysia, as investors turn their attention to US dollar-denominated assets.

Today, the KLCI ended at 1,648.65. Yesterday, the KLCI fell 9.88 points to close at 1659.36.

Across Asia today, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.32% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.45%.

Reuters reported Asian stocks slipped on Thursday as weak oil prices continued to feed global growth worries.

Risk asset markets continued to take cues from crude oil. Brent crude edged up slightly to fetch US$40.44 a barrel in Asia, but remains within reach of the seven-year low of US$39.57 struck on Wednesday.

"The process of taking money off the table is likely to be driven by nervousness ahead of the US Federal Reserve's moves next week, along with the soft oil price being viewed as a barometer of future economic activity," White Funds Management managing director Angus Gluskie was quoted as saying.

In Malaysia, Mercury Securities head of research Edmund Tham told theedgemarkets.com the firm expected the stock market to remain volatile ahead of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision.

Tham said the Malaysian bourse would also be affected by the movement in crude oil prices and the ringgit.

"There is not really a clear direction until [the] Federal Reserve (Fed) makes its decision on rate hike," Tham said.

Bursa Malaysia saw 541 decliners versus 294 advancers. A total of 2.06 billion shares valued at RM1.94 billion changed hands.

The top gainer was Top Glove Corp Bhd while the leading decliner was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd.

Among the actively-traded stocks, newly-listed food and beverage special purpose acquisition company Red Sena Bhd fell 12.5 sen or 25% to 37.5 sen.

Red Sena's initial public offering involved the sale of 800 million new shares at 50 sen each. The exercise included a similar number of free detachable warrants on a one warrant-one share basis.

Meanwhile, Asia Media Group Bhd fell as much as 0.5 sen or 17% to close at 2.5 sen ahead of the company's share consolidation.

Asia Media plans to merge every five existing shares of two sen each into one new share of 10 sen each.

(Note: The Edge Research's fundamental score reflects a company's profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)