KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 9): The FBM KLCI fell 0.6% on weaker regional share market performance, as still-weak crude oil prices hit sentiment.
At 5pm, the KLCI ended at 1,659.36 points. Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 was 0.98% lower, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.04%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.46%.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday, as crumbling commodity prices and data pointing to cooling demand from China, sapped investor appetite for risk assets.
In Malaysia, a fund manager told theedgemarkets.com: “Overall market sentiment is quite negative. Regional markets did not perform today, as export numbers from China fell. Ringgit has also weakened today."
The ringgit weakened to 4.2705 against the US dollar at 5pm, after Brent crude oil changed hands at US$40.77 a barrel.
The ringgit's strength tracks prices of crude oil, which forms a major component of the Malaysian economy.
Anticipation of a US interest rate hike this month could have also led to the ringgit's depreciation.
US policy makers will meet next 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, Bursa Malaysia saw 435 decliners versus 373 advancers. A total of 1.66 billion shares, valued at RM1.82 billion, exchanged hands.
Top gainer was Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, while leading decliner was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd. The most actively-traded counter was Instacom Group Bhd.
Tomorrow, investors will closely watch crucial Malaysian economic and industry data. The Statistics Department will announce the nation's October industrial output numbers at 12 noon.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board will announce the oil palm sector's inventory, output and export data for November, at about 12:30pm.
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