Weaker ringgit, China stock slump, weigh Malaysian shares down

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7): The FBM KLCI shed 6.31 points or 0.4% as the ringgit weakened to a new level, amid cheaper crude oil and anticipation US interest rate hikes.

Malaysian shares had also tracked China share market losses. At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,582.85, weighed down by oil and gas and plantation blue chips like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

Sime Darby was one of the top decliners across Bursa Malaysia, which saw 330 gainers against 401 decliners. The exchange saw 1.68 billion shares worth RM1.53 billion traded.

Top gainer was United Plantation Bhd, while leading decliner was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd. The most actively-traded counter was KLCI-linked call warrant FBMKLCI-C12.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong told theedgemarkets.com that there was no clear market direction today.

Wong said the market was affected by a combination of factors. These include falling crude oil prices, and a weaker ringgit against the US dollar.

The ringgit weakened to 4.3300 against the US dollar, after depreciating to a new level at 4.3405.

A slower China economy and positive US employment data also affected market sentiment. The US, which reported lower unemployment rate at 5.1%, prompted expectation of an interest rate hike in the world's largest economy.

In Malaysia, Wong said: “Investors are trying to gauge the bottom of the market. So far, there is no clear catalyst for market to rebound. The market is volatile, there is no clear upward or downward direction,” Wong said.
 
China share markets fell. Reuters reported that The CSI300 index of the biggest stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen closed down 3.4%, while the Shanghai Composite Index was 2.5% lower.

Attempts by Chinese policymakers and regulators to soothe the country's jittery markets with promises of financial market reforms and assurances that the economy is stabilising, had limited impact on Monday, with stocks tumbling in late trade.