Dealers said the local bourse which tracked the performance of key Asian markets, was weighed down by the overnight losses on Wall Street following US President Donald Trump’s announcement of the hefty steel and aluminium tariffs, sparking concerns on a global trade war.
Trump announced that the US will set tariffs of 25% for steel and 10% for aluminium. It is unclear whether they will apply to all imports or only metals from certain countries.
The benchmark index shed 4.79 points to 1,856.07 after staying in the negative territory throughout the day amid a weak broader market. The index opened 3.05 points easier at 1,857.81 this morning.
In the broader market, there were 291 gainers with 656 losers and 411 counters unchanged. Turnover stood at 2.55 billion shares worth RM2.41bil.
Ringgit was quoted at 3.9045, appreciating 0.69% at 5pm. The US dollar pulled sharply back from six-week highs after Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium took the wind out of the greenback’s week-long recovery.
On Bursa Malaysia, shares in steel related companies came under pressure following Trump’s tariff news. Ann Joo Resources Bhd fell 6.78%, or 25 sen to RM3.44, Southern Steel Bhd declined 4.19%, or nine sen to RM2.06 while Malaysia Steel Works (KL) Bhd was down 6.17% or seven sen to RM1.07.
Press Metal Aluminium, which lost 32 sen, or 5.53% to RM5.47, dragged the index down by 2.214 points. Axiata and Maxis fell nine sen each to RM5.33 and RM5.81 respectively, nudging the index down by 1.458 points and 1.259 points respectively.
Meanwhile, China stocks fell on Friday, weighed down by steel and aluminium makers. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.8% to 4,016.46 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,254.53.
Reuters reported that investors were also cautious ahead of next week’s National People’s Congress (NPC) gathering in Beijing, and are increasingly concerned about the risks of faster U.S. interest rate hikes.
Stocks in Hong Kong tumbled as regional equity markets slumped with Hang Seng Index shed 1.48%, or 460.80 points, to close at 30,583.45.
Japanese stocks fell to a 2-1/2-week rattled by fears of trade war. The Nikkei ended 2.5% lower to 21,181.64 points, the lowest closing level since Feb. 14.
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