KLCI falls on US rate hike talk

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 17): The FBM KLCI fell 5.57 points or 0.3% on profit taking and after a US Federal Reserve official hinted that interest rates might rise this September. The ringgit weakened.

US interest rate hikes do not bode well for emerging Asian markets as investors shift their funds back to US dollar-based assets.

Reuters quoted New York Fed President William Dudley as saying as the US labour market tightens and as evidence of rising wages builds, "we're edging closer towards the point in time where it will be appropriate I think to raise interest rates further".

In Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,694.32 points today, after rising 9.56 points yesterday (Aug 16). Today, the ringgit weakened to 4.0162 against the US dollar after trading between 3.9833 and 4.0196.

The KLCI had fallen with certain Asian share markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.48% while South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.2%.

In Malaysia, Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd research head Tung Yow Keong told theedgemarkets.com that the stock market was weak pending the US interest rate decision.

Tung said, "The FBM KLCI had gone up significantly, supported by net foreign buying in the past few days."

Across Bursa Malaysia today, decliners led gainers by 517 to 323 respectively. Volume was 3.12 billion shares valued at RM2.09 billion.

Top decliner was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd. Leading gainers included United Plantations Bhd and AirAsia Bhd.

The most-actively traded stocks included AirAsia X Bhd and Borneo Oil Bhd.