future rate


Key heavyweights push Bursa lower at opening

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) were lower at early trade today, brought down by weak heavyweights — Tenaga, PetChem, Nestle and Dialog, despite the lower liners continued strength. At 9.15am, the benchmark FTSE…

KLCI opens lower as key heavyweights weigh

KLCI opens lower as key heavyweights weigh

KUALA LUMPUR: The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) were lower at early trade today, brought down by weak heavyweights Tenaga, PetChem, Nestle and Dialog, despite the lower liners continued strength.

At 9.15 am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) index declined 3.12 points to 1,63.34.

The index opened 0.13 points lower at 1,639.33.

On the broader market, gainers outnumbered decliners 186 to 114, while 234 counters remained unchanged, 1,335 untraded and 31 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 476 million shares worth RM143.9 million.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said under the prevailing environment, the FBM KLCI is set for an extended indifferent trend, lingering within the 1,630 and 1,650 levels.

“There are also few market events to look forward to as several large initial public offerings are said to have been held back due to the uncertain market environment.

“Corporate exercises are also fewer due to the weak market sentiments, while valuations are already fair,“ it said today.

As for the lower liners, Malacca Securities said current low valuations will continue to draw in substantive trading actions, possibly allowing the broader market to recover further.

“However, we think that the recent gains are already overdone and consolidation is due to set in soon,“ it added.

At the same time, regional leads were also bearish with Asian benchmark indices closed mostly lower on fresh concerns over the global economic growth after the International Monetary Fund slashed global growth outlook to 3.3 per cent from 3.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, U.S stock markets rebounded after the U.S Federal Reserve stood pat on its dovish stance regarding future rate hike in the latest monetary policy meeting.

Of the heavyweights, Maxis went down 10 sen to RM5.60 while Digi dropped five sen to RM4.65 sen.

Meanwhile, Tenaga down 18 sen to RM12.40, PetChem was eight sen lower at RM8.92, Nestle dropped RM1.50 to RM145.30 and Dialog went down two sen to RM3.22.

Meanwhile, gainer heavyweights — Public Bank was four sen higher at RM22.68, Malaysia Airports added eight sen to RM6.83 and Maybank rose one sen to RM9.29.

Of the actives, Daya Materials, Dynaciate and Bio Osmo were half-a-sen higher each at 1.5 sen, 9.5 sen and 7.5 sen, respectively, while Ekovest inched up three sen to 66.5 sen.

The FBM Emas Index declined 8.85 points to 11,626.19, the FBMT 100 Index dropped 13.46 points to 11,443.68 and the FBM Ace Index inched down 13.27 points to 4,788.75.

The FBM Emas Shariah Index shed 20.61 points to 11,840.60, but the FBM 70 appreciated 16.43 points to 14,610.64.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index up 11.93 points to 16,872.02, while the Industrial Products and Services Index decreased 0.54 of-a-point to 169.42 and the Plantation Index was 2.27 points lower at 7,294.73.

Gold futures contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives were untraded in the early session on lack of catalyst, dealers said.

At 9.35 am, April 2019, May 2019, June 2019 and July 2019 stood at RM171.30, RM171.50, RM171.40 and RM171.50 a gramme respectively.

Volume was nil, while open interest amounted to 32 contracts.

At 9.30 am, the price of physical gold increased by 82 sen to RM167.26 per gramme. — Bernama

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Stocks jump on signs US, China close to trade deal

SYDNEY: Asian shares gained on Monday on reports the United States and China were close to striking a trade deal after a year-long tariff skirmish while the dollar eased as traders wagered Federal Reserve policy would remain accommodative.

The Wall Street Journal reported Washington could lift most or all of its tariffs on Beijing while a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign a final trade deal could happen later this month.

That followed comments from Trump on Friday that he had asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products because trade talks were progressing well. He also delayed previously scheduled plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods.

All of that proved positive for risk sentiment with E-mini futures for the S&P500 and the Dow adding 0.4 percent each.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan took the lead and climbed 0.1 percent for their second straight day of gains. Australian shares were up 0.7 percent while Japan’s Nikkei strengthened 0.8 percent. Chinese shares rallied too, with the blue-chip index up 1 percent.

The Asia ex-Japan index has risen almost 10 percent so far this year.

“Following a robust recovery for risk assets since the start of the year, a number of events in March are going to set the tone for global investors on whether this rebound is sustainable,” said Tai Hui, Asia Pacific Chief Market Strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Tai listed the prospective Trump-Xi trade summit among such events while China’s National People’s Congress could provide clues on new policies aimed at boosting Asia’s largest economy.

“These policies will be influential to maintain the upbeat onshore sentiment that has driven a strong rebound in the A-share market,” Tai said.

China’s CSI300 index landed its best week since November 2015 after index provider MSCI quadrupled its weighting for mainland shares in its global benchmarks.


March is expected to be a crucial month for global markets with UK parliament voting on Britain’s exit from the European Union while the Fed holds its policy meeting, which could yield clues on plans for future rate hikes and balance sheet reduction.

“While it will take time for economic data to stabilise from the current slowdown, policy shifts by central banks and governments, especially in the U.S. and China, should help support investor confidence for now,” Tai noted.

A slew of surveys has highlighted how much manufacturers are suffering worldwide, particularly those exposed to China’s slowdown, and added to expectations that central bank policy tightening is as good as finished.

In the United States, ISM data showed manufacturing activity for February dropped to its lowest since November 2016, while the University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment fell short of expectations in the month.

In addition, a U.S. Commerce Department report showed tame inflation pressures and U.S. personal income falling for the first time in more than three years in January.

The modest inflation lends support to the Fed’s patient posture on hiking U.S. interest rates, analysts said.

The dollar index slipped against a basket of major currencies from Friday’s one-week high of 96.551. It was last down 0.1 percent at 96.410.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was a tad higher at 111.96

The euro held in familiar ranges and was last at $1.1369.

The Australian dollar, a liquid proxy for risk hedges, gained on the broader improvement in sentiment but disappointing domestic data took the wind out of its sail. The currency was last at $0.7083 after earlier rising as high as $0.7118.

Elsewhere, oil prices firmed on Monday with Brent futures up 17 cents at $65.24 a barrel. U.S. crude added 23 cents to $56.03.

Spot gold was a tad higher at $1,295.83 an ounce.

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HONG KONG: Shanghai led a rally across Asian markets Monday after Donald Trump said he would delay a hike in tariffs on Chinese goods citing “substantial progress” in trade talks and fuelling hopes of an end to their long-running stand-off.

Optimism over the negotiations had already provided support to global equities, spurring a rally in January and February, but the president’s comments gave extra ammunition to investors to ramp up the buying.

The news also fired currency markets with the yuan extending gains to a seven-month high, while other high-yielding, riskier units were also up against the dollar.

Trump said on Twitter that the US “has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues”.

He added: “As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the US increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1.”

The president also said he planned to hold a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to sign a deal.

China’s Xinhua news agency added that the two sides had “made substantial progress on specific issues” including on transfer of technology, intellectual property and agriculture.

‘Sigh of relief’

In morning trade, Shanghai jumped 2.8% and Hong Kong added 0.4% while Tokyo ended the morning 0.7% higher.

Sydney and Singapore each put on 0.1%, while Seoul was flat, Taipei added 0.4% and Jakarta rose 0.3%.

The gains in Asia followed another positive lead from Wall Street, where the Dow enjoyed its ninth straight weekly gain – the longest streak since May 1995.

“This is a sigh of relief,“ said Ben Emons, managing director for global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. “Markets will still keep a level of caution, but this news is encouraging,“ he told Bloomberg TV.

The upbeat sentiment lifted high-risk currencies, with the yuan hitting its highest level against the dollar since July, while South Korea’s won, the Australian dollar and the Indonesia rupiah were also well up.

Forex traders will be closely watching speeches this week from top Federal Reserve officials – including chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance in front of lawmakers – hoping for clues about the bank’s monetary policy plans.

Wall Street “will be looking for soothing comments about the future size of the balance sheet – the bigger the better – and insights into future rate hikes”, said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. — AFP

Fed leaves rates unchanged, says will be ‘patient’ on future hikes

WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday but said it would be patient in lifting borrowing costs further this year as it pointed to rising uncertainty about the US economic outlook.

While the Fed said continued US economic and job growth were still “the most likely outcomes,” it removed language from its December policy statement that risks to the outlook were “roughly balanced” and struck language that projected “some further” rate hikes would be appropriate in 2019.

In a separate release from its policy statement, the US central bank also said while it was continuing its monthly balance sheet reduction, it was prepared to alter the pace “in light of economic and financial developments” in the future.

The Fed said in that same document that it had decided to continue managing policy with a system of “ample” reserves, a signal that its balance sheet rundown may end sooner than expected.

Taken together, the two documents were meant to convey maximum flexibility from a central bank buffeted in recent weeks by financial market volatility and signs of a global economic slowdown.

US stock markets extended their gains following the Fed’s statement, and bond yields dropped as investors gauged the language adjustment as signaling a low probability of additional rate hikes any time soon. The dollar weakened against a basket of major trading partners’ currencies.

“In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the committee will be patient” in determining future rate hikes, the Fed’s rate-setting committee said in its policy statement after a two-day meeting.

The Fed made no change to the $50 billion monthly runoff of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities from its balance sheet. Some traders have urged it to slow or halt its pullback from the bond markets, at least for now.

“Overall this signals the Fed will not be on autopilot going forward,” said Justin Lederer, Treasury analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell (pix) is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT).

The Fed raised rates four times last year and signaled in December that it would do so twice this year.

The economic outlook, however, has become more clouded as a result of recent volatility in financial markets and signs that growth is slowing overseas, including in China and the euro zone. There are also fears the 35-day partial shutdown of the US government may crimp consumer spending.

The Fed on Wednesday left its overnight benchmark lending rate in a target range of 2.25% to 2.50%.

The slight downgrade in the Fed’s language around rate increases included a change in its description of economic growth from “strong” to “solid,” and it noted that market-based measures of inflation compensation have “moved lower in recent months.”

The Fed’s policy decision was unanimous. – REUTERS

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