KLCI falls 13.78pts on profit taking; Ringgit weakens on crude oil

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 19): The FBM KLCI fell 13.78 points or 0.76% to close at 1,809.72 on profit taking amid retreating crude oil prices and a weaker ringgit.

At 5pm, the KLCI had fallen on stocks like Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd. Investors had taken profit in  KLCI-linked shares after the index gained 11.58 points yesterday.

Today, Malaysian shares had also taken the cue from lower crude oil prices.

At the time of writing, Brent oil was traded at US$65.49 a barrel while US oil was transacted at US$58.91.

Lower crude oil prices led to a weaker ringgit as the commodity forms a crucial portion of the Malaysian economy. The ringgit depreciated to 3.5915 against the US dollar.

The KLCI bucked regional share market gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.68%, Hong Kong’s Hang Sang rose 0.37% while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.34%.

Asian shares shrugged off early losses on Tuesday, as rallying Chinese shares and Wall Street's record close offset euro worries over Greece's fiscal woes, according to Reuters.

In Malaysia, Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd chief market strategist Benny Lee said the KLCI went against the regional trend due to falling crude oil prices.

Lee also said the KLCI was on “balancing” mode today as the market went up yesterday without any catalyst.

Today is no different, according to him. “I don’t see any catalyst for the market. There is no catalyst for buying. The market is waiting for a new direction,” Lee told theedgemarkets.com.

According to Lee, the 11th Malaysia Plan, which will be announced this Thursday (May 21), is unlikely to be a major catalyst for the market in the near term. This is because market sentiment has been clouded by other concerns such as Umno's internal politics and 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 2.09 billion shares worth RM1.99 billion traded with 406 decliners against 360 gainers while 343 counters traded unchanged.

Top gainers included Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd and VS Industry Bhd, while top decliners include Petronas Gas Bhd, PPB Group Bhd and Tenaga.

The top-active counter was Nexgram Holdings Bhd.