KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's FBM KLCI closed at Friday's low as blue chips came under continued selling pressure from foreign funds while the ringgit weakened against the US dollar due to the intensifying US-China trade war.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 8.26 points or 0.51% to 1,610.27 – the lowest since January 2016 and for 2019, it is down 4.75%. The 30-stock index is also down 12.79% or 236,24 points from 52 weeks ago.
Turnover was 2.29 billion shares valued at RM1.84bil. There were 335 gainers, 465 losers and 404 counters unchanged.
At the current level, the KLCI was trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of about 20 times, much higher than the other key Asian markets.
Malaysia's firmer industrial production index for March did not provide much support for the market as the US imposed higher tariffs on imports of US$200bil worth of Chinese goods.
Moody’s managing director and chief credit officer for Asia Pacific, Michael Taylor said the 25% tariffs on US$200bil of Chinese imports from the previous 10% “exacerbates the uncertainty in the global trading environment, further raises tensions between the US and China, negatively affects global sentiment and adds to risk aversion globally”.
Among the key Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.27% and Taiwan's Taiex 0.19% lower.
China’s stocks rallied as Beijing took steps to stabilise the market after the U.S. imposed additional tariffs on the nation’s goods. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.1% higher, reports said.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.84% and the CSI rallied 3.63% while Singapore's STI added 0.08%.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar by 0.14% to 4.1585.
As for the consumer stocks, Nestle fell RM1 to RM144 and F&N 48 sen to RM33.38. BAT was the top gainer, up 48 sen to RM33.98, Dutch Lady
22 sen to RM64, Carlsberg 16 sen to RM25.40.
Among the telcos, Axiata lost nine sen to RM4.39 and wiped out 1.42 points from the KLCI. Digi lost 10 sen to RM4.69 while Maxis was flat at RM5.36.
Power giant Tenaga slumped 14 sen to RM11.80 and erased 1.38 points., MISC was three sen lower at RM6.71, MAHB five sen to RM7.15 while Genting was flat at RM6.76 but GentingM gained four sen to RM3.18.
US light crude oil rose 34 cents to US$62.04 and Brent 38 cents higher at US$70.77. Dialog eked out a one sen gain to RM3.14, Petronas Dagangan was unchanged at RM24.24, Petronas Chemical shed one sen to RM8.89 and Petronas Gas 30 sen lower at RM17.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM2 to RM2,003 per tonne. Malaysian Palm Oil Board said the decline in CPO prices were due to weaker soyabean oil, impacted by the trade conflict.
IOI Corp ended Friday down 11 sen to RM4.24, Sime Plantation four sen to RM4.95, KL Kepong 14 sen to RM24.50 and PPB Group eased two sen to RM18.60.
Hong Leong Bank continued to come under pressure, losing 11 sen to RM19.50, AmBank theee sen to RM4.40, Public Bank two sen to RM22.26, CIMB and RHB Bank one sen each to RM5.12 and RM5.74.