KLCI lower on profit taking

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 2): The FBM KLCI fell 5.6 points or 0.33% on profit taking as crude oil prices declined.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,676.77 on losses in stocks like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd. Investors locked in gains after the KLCI's 10.21-point rise yesterday.

Today, analysts sensed cautious sentiment among investors. "The index's performance is quite muted. I think overall the market is still cautious," JF Apex Securities head of research Lee Chung Cheng told theedgemarkets.com.

Lee said uncertainties on the US Federal Reserve's potential interest rate hike this month and sagging oil prices continued to dent market confidence.

Reuters reported that oil prices fell on Wednesday as an unexpected rise in inventories pulled down US crude contracts, while Brent was weighed down by China's bleak economic outlook and a widespread expectation that OPEC will maintain high production.

US crude was trading down 34 US cents at US$41.51 per barrel at 0748 GMT. Internationally traded Brent was 24 US cents lower at US$44.20 a barrel.

In Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.96 billion shares worth RM1.85 billion traded.

Top gainer was Nestle (M) Bhd while the leading decliner was Lafarge Malaysia Bhd. The most-active stock was XOX Bhd.

Decliners edged out gainers at 426 against 423 while 351 counters remained unchanged.

The KLCI tracked losses in certain regional markets. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.37% lower while South Korea's Kospi declined 0.72%.

Reuters reported that Asian stock markets wavered on Wednesday after downbeat US manufacturing data raised questions about how aggressive the Federal Reserve would be when hiking interest rates, while the dollar retreated from 8½-month highs.

(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.)