Malaysian shares to take cue from US stocks, ringgit

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 12): Malaysian shares may take the cue from a weaker close in US stocks and ringgit.

A weaker ringgit against a strengthening US dollar may direct the spotlight on export-based companies like rubbber glove and semiconductor manufacturers. Malaysian rubber glove companies include Top Glove Corp Bhd and Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd.

Semiconductor firms include Unisem (M) Bhd and Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd.

Malaysian crude palm oil is also seen as a beneficiary of a weaker ringgit. This is because a weaker ringgit prices the commodity more attractively in global markets.

Hence, plantation firms like Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd may also be closely watched today.
 
Yesterday, the FBM KLCI fell 11.57 points or 0.65% to close at 1,778.16. The ringgit weakened to 3.7190 against the US dollar in intraday trade as anticipation of an earlier-than-expected US interest rate hike generated demand for the US dollar.  

Anticipation of an earlier-than-expected US interest rate hike, and a firmer US dollar did not bode well for US shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16% while S&P 500 lost 0.19%. Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2%.

Reuters reported that U.S. stocks ended lower for a second straight session on Wednesday as worries grew about the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike and dollar strength further dampened the outlook for U.S. earnings.