KLCI, ringgit slide ahead of US employment report

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 2): Malaysian shares fell on profit taking after a recovery yesterday and ahead of the crucial US employment report today.

The US employment report is closely watched as it offers clues on the timing of US interest rate hikes. According to a Reuters poll, economists expect the US non-farm payrolls report to show that employers added 203,000 jobs in September.

In Malaysia, the FBM KLCI closed down 5.13 points or 0.3% to finish at 1,628.80 at 5pm. This came on the back of a weaker ringgit against the US dollar.

At 5pm, the exchange rate was 4.4150.

JF Apex Securities Sdn Bhd analyst Lee Cherng Wee told theedgemarkets.com the KLCI was taking a breather today after regaining some ground yesterday.

Yesterday, the KLCI rose 12.89 points or 0.8% to close at 1,633.93.

Today, Lee said: "It was a mixed performance from the market today. The fact that US (and European) markets were both down yesterday did not help to boost investor sentiment either."

The KLCI's losses compared to gains in certain regional markets. Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 3.17%.

Reuters reported that although Asian markets firmed up today, the outlook remains grim as investors continue dumping emerging market assets as their growth expectations fade.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 1.34 billion shares valued at RM1.7 billion were traded. There were 397 gainers and 364 decliners.

Top decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd. Major gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd and Ajiya Bhd.

Most-active stocks included Aemulus Holdings Bhd and ManagePay Systems Bhd.

(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.)