KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips fell more than two points at midday on Monday weighed down by losses in CIMB Group, Public Bank and Axiata Group while the ringgit lost ground.
Ringgit drops for the seventh day against the US dollar. It dropped to 4.3885 against the greenback, the weakest since Jan. 21.
Bloomberg reported that the ringgit led declines in emerging-market currencies, set for the longest stretch of losses in more than a year, as US data backed the case for the Federal Reserve to tighten policy next month.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen is due to address Congress Thursday for the first time since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election last week that spurred speculation his plans for fiscal stimulus will quicken the pace of rate hikes.
At 12.30 pm, the FBM KLCI fell 2.48 points to 1,625.15. It opened 0.26 of-a-point weaker at 1,627.37. Losers thumped gainers 374 to 223, while 339 counters were unchanged. Turnover stood at 668.5 million shares worth RM625.09mil.
Overnight, the US markets were mixed with the Dow Jones ending its 7-day winning streak after financial counters dropped over 1% while Nasdaq posted gains.
European stocks declined amid ongoing concern on Trump’s economic policies and next month’s US Federal Reserve meeting.
“Following the bearish performance in the US and Europe, the FBM KLCI could consolidate and hover above the support of 1,610 points,” JF Apex said.
Hong Leong Investment Bank Research reiterated that the KLCI’s near term outlook remained challenging on the back of uncertainties in the equities, bonds and currencies markets coupled with the ongoing 3Q16 reporting season and the upcoming Bersih 5 rally.
It said the market should gradually recover towards the year end, buoyed by window dressing activities and Bank Negara’s measures to stem forex market volatility.
Leading the top gainers, KESM added 41 sen to RM9.45, Amway rose 33 sen to RM7.83 and Petronas Dagangan accumulated 18 sen to RM23.58.
Among top losers were British American Tobacco, which fell 66 sen to RM43.38, TAHPS eased 30 sen to RM6.65 while Far East declined 28 sen to RM7.72.
Laggards in the FBM KLCI component stocks were led by CIMB Group, which fell 9 sen to RM4.70, Public Bank dropped 12 sen to 7.73 and Axiata declined 4 sen to RM4.61.
Brent crude was last traded at US$46.55 per barrel while US crude traded at US$45.50 per barrel.
Among the key regional markets:
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.1% to 17,845.11;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.09% to 22,259.71;
CSI 300 fell 0.18% to 3,423.26;
Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.37% to 8,995.26;
South Korea’s Kospi accumulated 0.1% to 1,981.67 and
Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.68% to 2,812.90.