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KLCI falls as investors await US rate cut hint; Petronas stocks down

Jordan Khoo
Publish date: Thu, 11 Jul 2019, 12:22 AM

KUALA LUMPUR (July 10): The FBM KLCI closed 3.9 points or 0.23% lower today at 1,678.97 on profit taking and as global investors awaited Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell remarks during his two-day testimony starting Wednesday (July 10) before Congress. Petronas-linked counters led the KLCI's drop.

In the US, the Federal Reserve is also scheduled to announce on Wednesday its June policy meeting minutes. Powell's remarks and the meeting minutes will be closely watch for hints on the confirmation and extent of the widely-expected US interest rate cut this July 30 and 31.

US rate cuts are seen boding well for Asian markets, in anticipation that fund managers will shift their money into higher-yielding Asian assets like currencies, stocks and bonds. But anticipation of a smaller-than-expected US rate cut tempers such positive sentiment.
Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told that investors are holding back as they wait for clues, which will confirm the widely-expected US interest rate cut and quantum of the reduction.

“Investors are waiting for the minutes from the US central bank’s meeting to be out. There is a possibility that the US Fed may defer the rate cut which the market has priced in for July, which will affect the equity market,” said Wong.

Reuters reported that Asian shares pulled ahead on Wednesday while rising Treasury yields lifted the dollar as investors waited anxiously to hear if the world's most powerful central banker would confirm or confound expectations for US easing this month.

It was reported that a worrying lack of inflation globally is one reason investors are counting on Powell to sound suitably dovish when testifying to Congress on Wednesday. According to Reuters, futures are still fully priced for a 25-basis-point cut at the Fed's July 30-31 meeting, but have abandoned wagers on a half-point move. It was reported that investors rushed to scale back Fed rate cut expectations following unexpectedly strong gains in US jobs for June.

At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI closed down on profit taking at 1,678.97 after ending 5.23 points or 0.31% higher yesterday.

Among the 30 KLCI component counters today, Petronas-linked counters were the biggest percentage decliners.

Top percentage decliner Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd closed down 19 sen or 2.21% at RM8.41 followed by Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

Petronas Dagangan fell 54 sen or 2.11% to RM25.

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