The benchmark FBM KLCI plunged 40.78 points, or 2.21% to 1,804.25, its intra-day low at closing. The index opened 1.63 points weaker at 1,843.40.
In the broader market, there were 763 losers against 234 gainers while 351 counters unchanged. About 2.59 billion shares, valued at RM3.08bil, changed hands.
Dealers said the weak earnings results and dampened investor sentiment sparked a broad-based selldown in equity.
Adding to the downbeat note, regional sentiment was weak following US President Donald Trump’s remarks that he was not happy with the current progress in resolving the US-China trade conflict.
At Bursa Malaysia, the top losers was Dutch Lady that plunged 96 sen, or 1.37% to RM69.02, Panasonic Manufacturing shed 68 sen to RM38.94 while Ajinomoto closed 64 sen lower at RM22.90. The gainers included DRB-HICOM, Hong Leong Industries and KLCC.
Axiata, which tumbled 12.62%, or 64 sen to RM4.43, dragged the index down by 10.377 points. Axiata slipped into the red in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, posting a net loss of RM147.41mil compared with a net profit of RM239.02mil.
In a briefing earlier, Axiata said the group was looking at a possible technical impairment of between RM2bil and RM3bil when the merger between its associate Idea Cellular and Vodafone takes places.
President and group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said the merger of the two telcos is likely to take place in the next quarter, with two approvals still pending.
He stressed that the group was not concerned about this as the impairment was non-cash and would not have an impact on its normalised earnings and dividend-paying ability.
Other movers in the KLCI component stocks included CIMB, which pushed the index down by 7.216 points while Tenaga Nasional dragged the index lower by 4.069 points. CIMB shed 43 sen to RM6.22 and Tenaga lost 40 sen to RM14.94.
On the external front, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3%.
Japan’s Nikkei tumbled 1.2% to 22,690, after sliding to 22,650 earlier, the weakest intraday level since May 11.
Hong Kong stocks posted their biggest intraday fall in seven weeks on Wednesday, pulled down by energy shares which slumped after Beijing intervened to cool the red-hot coal market.
The Hang Seng index ended down 1.8% at 30,665.64, while the China Enterprises Index closed 2.1% lower at 12,090.79 points.
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