US President Donald Trump appeared to be fighting a trade battle on a new front as he threatened tariffs on US$11bil of EU products following WTO findings that the bloc's subsidies to Airbus had a negative impact on the US.
While the dispute is seen to have a smaller impact on the global economy than the US-China conflict, the development further soured investor sentiment over the global outlook.
Asian markets slipped into the red. The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.4%, the CSI300 fell 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.4% and Japan's Nikkei slumped 0.6%. South Korea's Kospi managed to eke out a 0.1% gain at midday.
At 12.30pm, trading volume on Bursa Malaysia was 1.66 billion shares valued at RM982.55mil. There were 367 decliners versus 316 gainers and 393 counters unchanged.
FGV remained in the spotlight as the government agreed to a RM6.23bil bailout of Felda. The counter rose five sen to RM1.31.
Among other most actively traded counters, IWCity grew seven sen to 92.5 sen and Ekovest rose 2.5 sen to 57 sen.
KLCI-linked stocks seeing notable price action included Maybank shedding three sen to RM9.27 and Petronas Chemicals giving up 15 sen to RM8.95 while Axiata dropped five sen to RM4.14.
MAHB experienced a third straight session of losses, losing 18 sen to RM6.76.
CIMB was the most improved in the morning session with a five sen increase to RM5.08.
Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday on the continued effect of US sanctions and Opec supply cuts although the advance was limited by an IMF forecast that the global economy was slowing more than expected.
US crude rose 15 cents to US$64.15 a barrel and Brent crude gained five cents to US$70.66 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit slipped 0.1% against the US dollar to 4.0980 amid the growing unease for riskier assets. It gained 0.3% against the pound sterling t 5.3514 and was flat against the Singapore dollar at 3.0274.
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