KLCI falls with Asian markets as ringgit strengthens

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 22): The FBM KLCI lost 6.66 points or 0.4% along with Asian markets, following overnight US equity losses.

Reuters reported disappointment over US corporate earnings, most notably at Apple Inc — the world's largest company, pushed stocks lower on Wednesday and investors towards the shelter of bonds.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.99%, Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 1.19%, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.91%.

Malaysia's KLCI closed at 1,729.53 on losses in plantation shares like Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd. Both ended among Bursa Malaysia's top decliners.

“Pension funds selling some of the plantation stocks also led to some weakness in the index,” Maybank Investment Bank regional chartist Lee Cheng Hooi told theedgemarkets.com.

Overall, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.66 billion shares, valued at RM1.68 billion, traded. There were 403 gainers and 409 declines, while 301 counters were unchanged.

Top gainers included Petronas Gas Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd and Datasonic Group Bhd.

Datasonic, which was the sixth-largest gainer, was also the ninth most-active stock. Datasonic rose 17 sen or 16% to close at RM1.25, on speculation the electronic-based identification specialist had "clinched a multi-million ringgit" contract, according to remisiers.

A remisier told theedgemarkets.com that the contract involved a credit card related project.

In currency markets, the ringgit strengthened to 3.7925 against the US dollar. Compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit weakened to 2.7823.

Reuters reported most emerging Asian currencies rebounded on Wednesday as the dollar retreated, but their strength may not last long due to the prospect of higher US interest rates.

The Malaysian ringgit touched a near two-week high, as government bond prices rose.