KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and most key Asian markets closed lower on Tuesday, extending their declines for the second day on geopolitical worries especially the US-China trade talks.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 7.09 points or 0.42% to 1,690.41, dragged down by losses in Axiata, Petronas Chemical, Sime Darby and plantations.
Turnover was 2.23 billion shares valued at RM2.03bil. Decliners led advancers nearly five to three or 487 losers to 299 gainers and 363 counters unchanged.
Hong Kong shares fell growing investor concern that US criminal charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei would damage prospects for a trade deal between both countries, Reuters reported.
The Hang Seng index settled 0.16% lower at 27,531.68. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.1%, Taiwan's TAIEX 0.8% and Singapore's STI losr 0.37% but Kapan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.08%.
At Bursa Malaysia, investors would be watching the corporate results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018.
At midday, insurance leader LPI Capital announced flat earnings of RM314.05mil reflecting the difficult market conditions. LPI closed up two sen to RM16.38, supported by its proposed dividend of 42 sen a share.
Axiata fell below the key RM4 level, down 18 sen to RM3.96 and erasing 2.8 points from the KLCI. Maxis was flat at RM5.76 and Digi inched up one sen to RM4.61.
A rebound in crude oil prices did not help oil and gas stocks much. US light crude oil rose 43 cents to US$52.42 and Brent added 52 cents to US$60.45.
Petronas Chemical lost 17 sen to RM8.45 and wiped out 2.3 points. Petronas Dagangan lost 10 sen to RM26.24 but Petronas Gas inched up four sen to RM17.78. Dialog was flat at RM3.02.
However, YINSON, which was recently upgraded, bucked the trend, climbing 21 sen to RM4.31. Carimin jumped 11.5 sen to 71.5 sen.
Sime Darby lost nine sen to RM2.21 and erased one point, Tenaga eight sen to RM13.50, MISC five sen to RM6.65 but Genting Malaysia rose four sen to RM3.21 and GENTING BHD eight sen higher at RM6.89.
As for banks, AmBank lost seven sen to RM4.42, Public Bank shed two sen to RM24.80, HL Bank rose two sen to RM20.72, CIMB one sen to RM5.67, RHB Bank five sen to RM5.52 and Maybank advanced three sen to RM9.69.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM33 to RM2,294 per tonne. Sime Plantation lost seven sen to RM5.11, KL Kepong 22 sen to RM24.50, PPB Group 14 sen to RM18.10 and IOI Corp two sen to RM4.63.
Consumer stocks were mixed in the cautious environment, with BAT sliding 56 sen to RM38, Nestle 50 sen to RM148.50, Ajinomoto 40 sen to RM18.70. Dutch Lady rose 30 sen to RM62.20, Carlsberg 18 sen to RM20.34 and Heineken 14 sen to RM20.84.
The weaker US dollar saw the ringgit just inching up 0.01% to 4.1117. However, the ringgit shed 0.01% to the pound sterling, easing 0.04% to the euro at 4.7052 and shedding 0.19% against the Singapore dollar to 3.0422.