KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign fund selling of Genting Bhd and Genting Malaysia dragged the 30-stock FBM KLCI into the red at the close of a volatile Wednesday as investors were cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 3.54 points or 0.2% to 1,771.40. Turnover was 1.44 billion shares valued at RM1.48bil. The broader market was however firmer, with 405 gainers to 312 losers and 320 counters unchanged.
Reuters reported markets took last minute positions on Wednesday ahead of what is expected to be the first tentative step by the Fed to wean the world off the super-easy money it has used to treat the last five years of financial turmoil.
It said expectations are that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be cautious with cuts to its US$85bil in monthly asset buying when it announces its plans at 1800 GMT, while also seeking to reassure investors that an actual rise in interest rates is still distant.
At Bursa Malaysia, the selling of blue chips erased the last-minute gains recorded on Tuesday. Trading of blue chips was volatile, with the KLCI staying in the red the whole day.
However, there was some mild buying interest in smaller capitalised stocks following fresh corporate developments.
Genting Bhd fell 37 sen to RM9.77 and erased 2.92 points from the KLCI while Genting Malaysia fell 20 sen to RM4.16 and wiped out 2.11 points.
Crude palm oil (CPO) for third-month delivery fell RM21 to RM2,334. This weighed on plantations, with KL Kepong down 18 sen to RM22.20.
MAHB fell 15 sen to RM7.15 while Petronas Dagangan and MISC lost 12 sen each to RM28.02 and RM5.03.
FCW-WB tumbled 10.5 sen to 58 sen after the caution from Bursa Malaysia Securities on Tuesday. FCW-WA fell three sen to 9.5 sen while FCW was down nine sen to RM1.13.
Focal Aims bucked the trend to surged 39 sen to RM1.63 with 5.28 million shares, and breaking past the RM1.40 takeover offer by Eco World Development.
BAT was the second best performing stock, adding 32 sen to RM63.38 while Nestle added 30 sen to RM68.
Hong Leong Bank rose 16 sen to RM14.20, Public Bank six sen to RM17.76 and RHB Cap four sen to RM7.54 while CIMB and Maybank edged up two sen each to RM7.60 and RM10.20.
The ringgit firmed up against the US dollar to 3.2340, but off the day’s best of 3.2315 – the strongest since Aug 5.
Among the key regional markets:
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.35% to 14,505.36;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.27% to 23,117.45;
Shanghai’s Composite Index rose 0.29% to 2,191.85;
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.49% to 8,209.18;
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.39% to 2,005.58 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.41% to 3,193.85.
US light crude oil rose 69 cents to US$106.11 and Brent edged up six cents to US$108.25.
Spot gold fell US$9.91 to US$1,300.68.