KLCI in the red during midsession

by MARK RAO / pic TMR file

The decline across global equity markets continued to weigh down on Malaysia’s stock exchange in midday trade, as hawkish speak from the US Federal Reserve chair led to market fears of an additional interest rate hike in the country.

At 11.58am today, the Bursa Malaysia KLCI was lower by 9.43 points at 1,862.03, with several large-cap stocks bringing down the index.

After opening marginally lower by 0.06 points at 1,871.40, the local bourse fell to a low of 1,861.10 around 11.45am, while hitting a high of 1,872.02 during the first-half of trading.

Losers led gainers 811 to 168 with 280 counters unchanged and 620 untraded.

Losers were led by Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Thong Guan Industries Bhd and Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd.

The top five gainers included British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, Batu Kawan Bhd and Muda Holdings Bhd.

A total of 1.37 billion shares were traded for RM1.1 billion.

Asian markets were also down with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific index lower by 0.27 points at 178.99, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was lower by 200.27 points at 22,189.59 and Korea’s KOSPI down by 20.04 points at 2,436.10.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down by 70.52 points at 4,250.81.

In US markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were lower at 25,410.03 (down by 299.24 points) and 2,744.28 (down by 35.32 points) respectively.

According to CME Group Inc’s recent data, market odds for four US interest rate hikes in 2018 rose from 20% to 33% on Monday, causing many investors to retreat from US equities.