Late push sends KLCI near 6 week low, ringgit weak

KUALA LUMPUR: Late selling of Maxis, Digi and CIMB sent the FBM KLCI down more than eight points to a near six-week low on Thursday while the ringgit plumbed to the lowest since March this year.

Trading had been volatile over this short week as the market was open from Tuesday to Thursday only. Investors turned cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting next week. The fall in crude oil prices and also weakening ringgit weighed on market sentiment.

At 5pm, the KLCI was down 8.4 points or 0.51% to 1,652.99 and year-to-date it is down 2.33%.. Turnover was 1.33 billion shares valued at RM2.32bil. There were 397 gainers, 369 losers and 385 counters unchanged.

The ringgit fell against the major currencies, sliding to 4.1425 against the US dollar – the lowest since March 3 – from 4.1345 the previous day. It lost ground against the pound sterling to 5.4777 from 5.4488 and slipped against the Singapore dollar to 3.0322 from 3.0198. Against the Euro, it was at 4.6580 from 4.6279.

On the external front, Japan and Singapore markets closed in the red but Hong Kong staged a late rebound. China, Taiwan and South Korea were closed.

Hong Kong stocks ended modestly higher on Thursday as investors hunted for bargains after sharp losses earlier this week. Casino stocks and financials outperformed, though trading was light due to a holiday in mainland China and ahead of a three-day weekend in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

At Bursa Malaysia, consumer stocks topped the losers' list, with Dutch Lady down RM1.30 to RM59, Ajinomoto lost 50 sen to RM13.36, BAT fell 48 sen to RM49.02 and Carlsberg gave up 14 sen to RM14.52.

As for telcos, Maxis fell 13 sen to RM6.02 and erased 1.66 points from the KLCI while Digi shed eight sen to RM4.96 and surrended 1.06 points while Axiata rose one sen to RM5.32. Telekom was flat at RM6.78. Time dotCom surged 84 sen to RM8.42.

Among finance stocks and banks, HLFG rose 42 sen to RM15.98, Public Bank added four sen to RM19.50, CIMB fell six sen to RM4.64, Maybank and RHB Bank five sen lower to RM7.84 and RM4.75 while AmBank shed four sen to RM4.16. Insurer LPI, which is a major shareholder of Public Bank added 48 sen to RM16.62.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM37 to RM2,601 per tonne. United Plantations fell the most among the plantations, down 20 sen to RM27.60, IOI Corp and PPB Group lost eight sen each to RM4.40 and RM16.02 while KL Kepong lost two sen to RM23.80 but Sime Darby gained one sen to RM7.67 and Genting Plantations added 14 sen to RMRM10.96.

US light crude oil rose 13 cents to US$43.71 while Brent added 25 cents to RM46.10. As for oil and gas players, Petronas Chemicals fell four sen to RM6.59, Petronas Dagangan lost two sen to RM23.34 and Petronas Gas shed one sen to RM21.90 while SK Petro eased one sen to RM1.54.

Choo Bee jumped 26 sen to RM2.12 and it was the top performer among the steel-linked counters. Tagging also were LB Aluminum, up 8.5 sen to 71 sen while Hiap Teck added one sen to 30.5 sen.

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