KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and key Asian markets closed in the red on Monday, registering losses of between 0.5% and 4.3% as the US-China trade war escalated while the ringgit was hammered as China's yuan fell.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI closed down 8.8 points or 0.5.5% to 1,600.53 – but off the lows of 1,590 on late buying support by local funds.
Turnover was 2.21 billion shares valued at RM1.81bil. Decliners beat advancers more than three to one or 661 losers to 211 gainers while 348 counters were unchanged.
Reuters reported China's yuan fell to an 11-year low against the dollar and stocks dropped as the trade war sharply escalated, threatening to inflict more damage on the world's largest economies.
The onshore yuan slumped as much as 0.7% in the first few minutes of trading to 7.15 per dollar, its weakest since February 2008 and its second biggest one-day drop of the month. The offshore yuan fell to a record low of 7.1850.
The ringgit fell 0.27% to the US dollar to 4.2025 – the weakest since November 2017. Its fell 0.6% against the pound sterling to 5.1445, lost 0.73% against the euro to 4.6712 and lost 0.25% versus the Singapore unit to 3.0293.
Petronas-linked stocks were among the top losers. Petronas Dagangan fell 96 sen to RM22.30, Petronas Chemicals 31 sen to RM6.91 and Petronas Gas 30 sen to RM15.70.
Petronas Chemicals' losses erased 4.38 points from the KLCI, Petronas Daganan wiped out 1.68 points and Petronas Gas 1.04 points. Dialog lost three sen to RM3.45.
US light crude oil rose 44 cents to US$54.61 and Brent gained 41 cents to US$59.75.
As for consumer stocks, Nestle fell 70 sen to RM148.30, BAT 58 sen ti RM20.52 and Dutch Lady 40 sen to RM63.90. However, Carlsberg jumped 94 sen to RM25.86 and Heineken 24 sen to RM24.74 after their strong results while F&N advanced 16 sen to RM35.66.
DRB-HICOM came under selling pressure, falling 35 sen to RM2.60, with 100 million shares done despite analysts being positive on the company after the results.
RHB Bank added five sen to RM5.62 after posting a strong set of results and HLFG gained 18 sen to RM16.98.
HL Bank was flat at RM16.98, AmBank and CIMB shed one sen each to RM4.12 and RM5.06, Public Bank lost two sen to RM20.80 and Maybank five sen to RM8.59.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery was up RM11 to RM2,273 per tonne, but off the early high of RM2,312 per tonne. PPB Group was unchanged at RM18.8, Sime Plantations one sen lower at RM4.81, KL Kepong fell 14 sen to RM23.66 and IOI Corp five sen to RM4.33.
Tenaga fell six sen to RM13.70, Sime Darby five sen to RM2.09, GentingM four sen to RM5.96 and Genting five sen to RM5.96.
However, Maxis and Axiata help cushion the losses. Axiata rose eight sen to RM5.08 and added 1.29 points, Maxis nine sen to RM5.49 while Digi shed one sen to RM5.