KLCI tracks Asian share losses; ringgit weakens vs USD

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 20): The FBM KLCI lost 2.6 points or 0.15% today, as Asian shares fell amid speculation on the timing of US interest rate hikes.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,724.13. Across Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.04%, while South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.17%.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday today.

Reuters reported most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday, as investors pared equity holdings in anticipation of a U.S. interest rate hike this year, while the Thai benchmark dropped to a more than one-week low, led by energy and bank shares.

Anticipation of higher US interest rates had led to a stronger US dollar, as investors focused on US dollar-denominated assets.

Compared to the stronger US dollar, the ringgit weakened to 3.8095 at the time of writing.

In Malaysia, fund managers said today was a generally quiet day of trading, amid the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

The local share market resumed trading today, following a half-day break last Thursday (July 16) and full-day holiday on Friday (July 17).

Today, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd's chief executive officer Danny Wong told theedgemarkets.com that "it was generally a quiet day for trading, with the fall in some component stocks affecting the index."

These included MISC Bhd, Genting Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.

Overall, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.52 billion shares, valued at RM1.55 billion, traded. There were 452 gainers and 319 decliners.
 
Top gainers included United Plantations Bhd and Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd. Major decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Cocoaland Holdings Bhd.

The most-actively traded stock of the day was AirAsia Bhd.