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Friday, February 19, 2010

Key Asian markets fall after US Fed raises discount rate

Friday, 19 February 2010  |  KUALA LUMPUR the edge : Key Asian markets fell at the midday break today, with Hong Kong the most affected after the US Federal Reserve unexpectedly raised its discount rate to 0.75% from 0.5%.

Though the FBM KLCI seemed the least affected by the rate-hike news, heavyweight Genting Bhd, Genting Malaysia and the call warrants of Genting Singapore extended their losses from the previous day.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI fell just 1.45 points to 1,257.46. Turnover was 303.25 million shares valued at RM540.74 million. Declining stocks thumped advancers more than three to one with 389 losers, 121 gainers and 239 stocks unchanged.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.3% to 19,952.10, Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 1.4% to 10,190.55 and Singapore's Straits Times Index gave up 1.08% to 2,739.22.

The Fed said it would raise the interest rate it charges banks for emergency loans to 0.75% from 0.5%, taking a step towards normalising emergency policy used to fight the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Light crude oil fell 93 US cents to US$78.13, March crude palm oil third contracts lost RM12 to RM2,588 and US spot gold eased US$3.30 to US$1,105.40.

At Bursa, GENTING BHD [] fell 17 sen to RM6.37, Genting Malaysia lost two sen to RM2.70 while Genting Singapore-C1 gave up 1.5 sen to 16 sen and Genting Singapore-C2 one sen to seven sen. Genting Singapore fell two cents to 93 cents on the Singapore Exchange.

Nestle fell the most, down 56 sen to RM33.18, BAT 40 sen to RM41.56, Tanjong 30 sen to RM17.76 while GBH shed 20 sen to RM1.80.

Homeritz, which made its debut on the Main Market, was the most active on its first trading day with 19.1 million shares done, adding three sen to 68 sen.

MAS-OR lost 2.5 sen to 9.5 sen and KNM Group one sen lower at 80 sen.

Keck Seng rose 57 sen to RM4.49, making it the top gainer with 2,500 shares done while DiGi rebounded from its late losses yesterday to climb 46 sen to RM22.30. Dutch Lady added 20 sen to RM12 after it made its dividend proposal, though it forecast a tough year ahead.

EdgeTV | February 19, 2010 = Stock markets across Asia slumped tpday, following an unexpected move by the US Federal Reserve to raise the discount rate on Thursday night, after Wall Street had closed. This raised fears that the inevitable US monetary tightening could come sooner than expected.