By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN
THE benchmark Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) ended the morning session in positive territory, tracking the initial gains made on Wall Street following the US Federal Reserve’s decision to keep its interest rates unchanged.
In a widely anticipated move, the US central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee held the funds rate at a target of 1.5% to 1.75%. The decision hinted at higher inflation ahead.
Wall Street’s major indexes were temporarily boosted by the announcement before heavy sell off took place in the last hour of trading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 174.07 points or 0.72% to 23,924.98, the S&P lost 19.13 points or 0.72% to 2,635.67 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 29.81 points or 0.42% to 7,100.90.
The local stock market was 4.16 points or 0.22% higher at 1,856.19, against yesterday’s close of 1,852.03. The KLCI opened lower at 1,848.63 and rallied between 1,847.10 and 1,856.92 before the midday break.
Market breadth, however, was negative as losers led gainers 375 to 290, while 342 were unchanged and 848 untraded.
Among the top decliners were Batu Kawan Bhd, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd and British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd.
Top gainers included Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, Padini Holdings Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.