KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI embarked on a steady decline on Wednesday as weak US manufacturing data suggested that the US economy may be feeling the effects of the trade war.
US factory data experienced a deeper contraction in September, prompting analyst comments that the US economy, which has been resilient despite slowdowns elsewhere in the world, may be showing signs of pressure.
Japan's Nikkei was down 0.6%, 90 minutes from the end of day, South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.4% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3%. China's mainland markets remained shuttered for the Golden Week holiday.
At 12.30pm, the local index was down 9.4 points to 1,580.04, en route to a fresh four-year low, as heavyweight banks led the index lower on expectations of slower global growth.
Trading volume remained slim with 958 million shares traded valued at RM582.55mil. There were 457 decliners, 204 gainers and 358 counters unchanged.
On Bursa Malaysia, 26 of the 30 KLCI-linked counters were in the red, in line with a slump in global equities.
Public Bank fell 20 sen to RM19.80, Maybank slipped four sen to RM8.55, CIMB dropped three sen to RM5.02, RHB slid nine sen to RM5.62 and Hong Leong Bank shed 10 sen to RM16.30.
MAHB also led the laggards with a 27 sen drop to RM8.41.
Counters that went against the grain were Genting up two sen to RM5.75, KL Kepong up four sen to RM23.22 and MISC up one sen to RM7.90. Dialog stayed unchanged at RM3.40.
Top traded counters in the morning session were Vsolar gaining one sen to 8.5 sen, Bumi Armada down 0.5 sen to 31.5 sen and XOX slipping 0.5 sen to five sen.
Oil markets surprised as prices bounced higher on a drop in US crude inventories, offsetting the negative sentiment from a potential slowdown in the US economy.
Brent crude, which has been on a downtrend since Sept 16, snapped losses to rise 43 cents to US$59.32 a barrel, while US crude gained 62 cents to US$54.24 a barrel.
The ringgit was 0.1% higher against the greenback to 4.1900 on the weak US factory data. It also strengthened 0.3% against the pound sterling to 5.1462 and 0.1% against the Singapore dollar to 3.0253.
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