KLCI, ringgit extend losses on foreign selling

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 11): The FBM KLCI fell 17.66 points or 1.1% as the ringgit depreciated to fresh levels after China devalued its currency and as investors eyed Malaysia's political uncertainties.

The KLCI settled at 1,636.71 at 5pm as the ringgit weakened against the US dollar at 3.9735. Earlier, the ringgit depreciated to a fresh level at 3.9865.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said the KLCI continued to be weighed down by foreign selling.

Banking stocks led the decline in the index today, according to Wong.

"There is still some selling by foreigners, with the decline in some banking stocks such as Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), RHB Capital Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd weighing down the index.

"This could be the last leg of selling by foreign investors," he told theedgemarkets.com.

Across the board, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.98 billion shares worth RM2.06 billion traded. Decliners beat gainers at 529 versus 290 while 346 counters were unchanged.

Top decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Maybank.

KLCI put warrant FBMKLCI-HF led gainers while the most active counter was FBMKLCI-HK.

Across the region, South Korea's Kospi fell 0.82% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.09%. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.42%.

Reuters reported that the US dollar lunged higher on Tuesday as China allowed its yuan to fall to three-year lows, a shift that heightened unease about the world's second-largest economy even as it promised a much-needed boost to exports.

Asian stocks slipped and sovereign bonds rallied as investors weighed the implications of the surprise move, which seemed to end months of officially sanctioned yuan strength.