KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and key Asian markets closed down between 1% and 3% on Thursday as China warned it was fully prepared to defend its interests against the US tariff threat.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 15.02 points or 0.92% to 1,618.53, weighed by telcos and banks. Turnover was 2.14 billion shares valued at RM2.01bil. There were 246 gainers, 610 losers and 333 counters unchanged.
South Korea's KOSPI stock index fell for the fourth consecutive session and posted the biggest daily loss in seven months, falling 3.04% to 2,102. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 2.39%, Hang Seng China Enterprise 2.27%, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.93% and Singapore's STI 0.43%. US futures pointed to lower open on Wall Street.
China said it was fully prepared to defend its interests in its trade war with the US, but hoped the US can resolve problems through dialogue instead of unilateral steps, Reuters quoted the Chinese commerce ministry as saying on Thursday.
China has the determination and capacity to defend its interests, but hopes the U.S. can meet it halfway, Gao Feng, the ministry's spokesman, told reporters.
The ringgit continued to weaken against the US dollar, down 0.13% to 4.1540.
At Bursa, Maxis fell 16 sen to RM5.36 and erased 2.17 points from the KLCI. Axiata lost eight sen to RM4.48 to wipe out 1.26 points and Digi two sen lower at RM4.79.
Shares of Axiata and Digi had surged on Tuesday on news of the proposed merger of Axiata's South Asian and Asean operations with Digi.
Among the consumer companies, Nestle fell RM3.40 to RM145 and wiped out 1.38 points. BAT lost 60 sen to RM33.50, Carlsberg 18 sen to RM25.24 and Heineken 16 sen to RM24.16. However, Dutch Lady rose 28 sen to RM64.28.
As for banks, Hong Leong Bank lost 24 sen to RM19.62, Public Bank and AmBank fell 12 sen each to RM22.28 and RM4.43 while CIMB and RHB Bank gave up seven sen each to RM5.13 and RM5.75. Maybank was flat at RM8.97.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM24 to RM2,013 per tonne. Among the plantations, PPB Group gave up 10 sen to RM18.62 while Sime Plantation, IOI Corp and KL Kepong lost six sen each to RM4.99, RM4.35 and RM24.64 respectively.
Genting fell nine sen to RM6.76, GentingM eight sen to RM3.14, MAHB 10 sen to RM7.20 and Tenaga eight sen lower at RM11.94.
US light crude oil fell 17 cents to US$61.95 and Brent nine cents lower at US$70.28. Petronas Gas lost six sen to RM17.30, Petronas Chemical two sen to RM8.90 and Petronas Dagangan flat at RM24.24. Dialog was down three sen to RM3.13,
Poultry company Teo Seng Capital bucked the trend after its net profit surged 234% to RM22.09mil in the first quarter ended March 31 from RM6.61mil a year ago. It rose eight sen to RM1.36. LTKM rose nine sen to RM1.25.
SP Setia Bhd posted net profit of RM52.83mil on the back of RM864.91mil in revenue in the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 as the “wait-and-see” attitude continues to linger. It shed nine sen to RM2.10.