KLCI slips 0.3% amid mixed sentiment as US rate hike looms

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): The FBM KLCI slipped 0.3% or 4.97 points to 1,628.79 today on continued concerns of an interest rate hike in the US as early as next month. Overall sentiment was mixed in a sideways market.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was higher by 0.54% at 16,736.35 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8% to 19,852.2.

Reuters reported that Asian shares edged up but were on track for a weekly loss, while the dollar was poised for a winning week on bets the US Federal Reserve could raise rates as early as next month.

The ringgit weakened to 4.0823 at 5pm after trading within an intraday range of 4.0685 to 4.0895.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd technical analyst Loui Low Ley Yee said the local market was moving sideways, reflecting the mixed trading sentiment.

"I think most of the traders are looking into smaller caps. People are not really into big caps so we see a lot of selldowns but a lot of these selldowns are quite marginal.

"It's more of a mixed sentiment for me at the moment," Low told theedgemarkets.com.

On the outlook for the KLCI, Low said a recovery is likely if the KLCI surpasses the 1,640-point level.

"We have yet to see the breach of the 1,640 level so we might be looking for further downside but it's likely to be capped at the 1,630 level as the relative strength indicator (RSI) is oversold at this time," he added.

Across Bursa Malaysia, decliners led gainers by 408 to 365. Volume was 1.7 billion shares valued at RM1.64 billion.

Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd was the top gainer while the leading decliner was British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd. The most active counter was AirAsia X Bhd.