SHANGHAI, April 24 — Equity markets in Asia faltered today amid losses in South Korea and uncertainty over China's plans for further stimulus as the economy shows signs of regaining its footing. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside…
SHANGHAI, April 24 — Equity markets in Asia rose this morning after upbeat earnings helped the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes reach record closing highs on Wall Street overnight, while oil retreated from its near six-month highs. MSCI's broadest…
TOKYO, April 16 — Asian stocks hovered below a nine-month peak today after disappointing bank earnings dented Wall Street, though recent signs the global economy is likely to avoid a sharper downturn helped limit the losses. MSCI’s broadest…
HONG KONG, The pound held its gains today after Britain and its EU partners agreed to once again extend the deadline for Brexit, days before the cut-off for avoiding an economically calamitous no-deal divorce. After hours of late-night talks Prime…
LONDON, March 27 — Germany's 10-year bond yields held below zero per cent, just above 2-1/2-year lows, yesterday, weighed down by fears of global economic slowdown and uncertainty about the impact of a potentially chaotic Brexit on the euro zone….
TOKYO, March 26 — Asian shares drifted higher today after two days of losses as US 10-year Treasury yields edged up, but the outlook remained murky as investors weighed the odds of whether the U.S. economy is in danger of slipping into recession….
TOKYO, March 25 — The yen held near six-week highs against the dollar today as fears of economic recession, fanned by inversion of the US bond yield curve, sapped demand for higher-yield, growth reliant assets and drove investors toward…
PETALING JAYA: The local bourse bucked the regional trend and skidded 20.55 points or 1.22% today as the market was bogged down by heavy selling in banking stocks amid the US Federal Reserve’s dovish outlook.
The FBM KLCI closed at an intraday low of 1,663.66 points against Wednesday’s closing of 1,684.21.
Market breadth was negative with losers beating gainers 547 to 302. A total of 2.96 billion shares valued at RM2.15 billion were traded.
The Financial Services Index tumbled 225.12 points or 1.29% to 17,219.51 points.
Among the top losers on Bursa Malaysia were Public Bank Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd, which fell 60 sen, 46 sen and 14 sen to RM23.86, RM20.34 and RM4.47, respectively.
Malayan Banking Bhd and CIMB were down 7 sen and 6 sen to RM9.40 and RM5.33, respectively.
Inter Pacific Research Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told SunBiz that the Fed’s dovish stance on the benchmark rates is causing some consternation among the investors about banking stocks as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is likely to lower the Overnight Policy Rate.
“This is because if the lending rate drops, the banks’ lending margins could possibly become slightly weaker,” he said.
Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd head of research Kenny Yee Shen Pin concurred, saying that the Fed’s dovish stance on the benchmark rates provides room for BNM to look into the possibility of a rate cut to support Malaysia’s economic growth and in turn the stock market may see a boost from easing monetary policies.
“This would provide further impetus to sustain economic growth and also the equity markets. However, global growth remains a concern,” he said in a research note.
Pong opined that any rate cut will depend on the country’s economic performance, such as gross domestic product growth.
“At this moment, I think the interest rates are quite adequate to maintain economic growth. I don’t think it has reached the point where BNM feels pressure to lower interest rate yet,” he added.
Additionally, Pong said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent remarks on the possible imposition of windfall taxes on banks if they continue on being conservative in lending also contributed to the sell-off in banking stocks.
Lim, however, has clarified that the government has no intention to impose such taxes on banks.
Meanwhile, Pong pointed out that Malaysia stands to benefit from the Fed’s dovish stance it provides room for the ringgit to strengthen further given the weakening of the US dollar, and thus help to lower the inflation rate.
“The fact that the US Fed has left the outlook for interest rates to be unchanged for the rest of the year makes it more likely that BNM may actually lower interest rates. Therefore, US dollar might weaken and with that, the pressure on ringgit will be less as the dollar weakens,” he explained.
The ringgit climbed to an eight-month high of 4.0545 against the US dollar. As at 5pm today, the Malaysian currency was trading 0.22% higher at 4.0625 against the greenback..