Trade war fears loom large again, KLCI slips early Wednesday

  • Markets
  • Wednesday, 14 Mar 2018

KUALA  LUMPUR: Blue chips fell in early Wednesday trade as investors were nervous about the looming US trade war while key Asian markets slipped with the latest speculation that US President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to US$60bil of Chinese imports.

At 9.51am, the KLCI was down 3.44 points or 0.18% to 1,860.59. Turnover was 451.93 million shares valued at RM244.08mil. There were 168 gainers, 358 losers and 287 counters  unchanged.

Kenanga Research said the momentum indicators for the KLCI remain weak.

“Expect local bourse be caught in a range-bound, hovers in the week between 1,840 (S1) and 1,883 (R1) in the absence of fresh catalyst. 

“Should (R1) be decisively taken out, expect higher resistance at 1,910 (R2). Conversely, expect a lower support at 1,800 (S2), should (S1) fail to hold,” the research house said.

The ringgit firmed up against the US dollar, up 0.17% to 3.892.

Trump will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products, this person said.

At Bursa, UMW fell 49 sen to RM6 on rising concerns about its cash call to raise more than RM1bil. 

Petron fell 24 sen to RM9.76 and Hengyuan 21 sen to RM8.83.  PerGas was down 14sen to RM17.76.

KL Kepong lost 18 sen to RM25.24, HLFG16 sen lower at RM18.84 and Hap Seng lost 11 sen to RM9.69.

Hibiscus Petroleum fell 7.5 sen to 84.5 sen with 25.8 million shares done while Sapura Energy was unchanged at 45 sen. UMW Oil and Gas shed 0.5 sen to 30 sen in active trade.

Consumer stocks saw continued buying support, with Nestle was again at fresh record high of RM160.30, up RM2.90. Dutch Lady rose RM2.66 to RM73.80, Ajinomoto jumped 98 sen to RM25.28, F&N 86 sen to RM33.76, BAT 34 sen to RM27.32 and Carlsberg 12 sen to RM20.90.

Reuters reported oil prices stabilised after posting two days of falls at the start of the week.

Support came from a report that US crude inventories are not rising as much as expected during the spring season that is starting, implying healthy demand.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 10 cents to US$60.81 and Brent crude futures were at US$64.65 per barrel, up just one cent.