Bursa opens easier ahead of US interest rate hike

KUALA LUMPUR: Share prices on Bursa Malaysia were easier today with investors on cautious mode ahead of the US next interest rate hike announcement, a dealer said.

At 9.05am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) fell 3.67 points to 1,786.44 from 1,790.11 recorded on Thursday, after opening 2.59 points lower at 1,787.52.

On the scoreboard, losers led gainers by 171 to 54, with 156 unchanged, 1,493 untraded and 17 suspended.

Volume stood at 96.87 million units valued at RM38.97 million.

A dealer said the local bourse and its regional peers are trading cautiously as they are waiting for the next cue from the US Federal Reserve’s announcement on its next and final interest rate hike for this year.

The Fed had in September increased the lending rate to a range between 2% and 2.25%, a move that was highly anticipated earlier.

“It is scheduled to hike the rate again in 2018 and three more for 2019 with the improved economy in the US,” the dealer said.

Investors will be trading range-bound until the decision is made, he said.

The next Federal Open Market Committee is due on Nov 7-8.

Meanwhile, of heavyweights today, Maybank fell three sen to RM9.67, Public Bank lost 10 sen to RM24.90, Tenaga inched down four sen to RM15.46 and Petronas Chemicals was six sen lower at RM9.34.

For actives, PDZ Holdings and Sapura Energy eased half-a-sen each to four sen and 40.5 sen respectively while both Borneo Oil and Velesto Energy were flat at 5.5 sen and 28 sen.

The FBM Ace Index dropped 34.40 points to 5,261.16, the FBM 70 erased 65.26 points to 14,722.38 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index slipped 26.13 points to 12,608.46.

The FBM Emas Index contracted 30.85 points to 12,466.95 and the FBMT 100 Index was 32.13 points weaker at 12,271.90.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index lost 37.21 points to 17,724.38 and the Industrial Products and Services Index edged down by 0.53 point to 176.84, while the Plantation Index eased 2.31 points to 7,499.91.