KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets closed weaker on Wednesday on rising US-China tensions while some selling of Petronas-linked stocks pushed the FBM KLCI into the red but above the key 1,600 level.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 4.17 points or 0.26% to 1,601.14. Turnover was 2.90 billion shares valued at RM1.97bil. There were 426 gainers, 411 losers and 409 counters unchanged.
Nearly all key Asian markets were in the red after Beijing's condemnation of a US Senate measure backing anti-government protesters in the Asian financial hub renewed worries about the prospects of trade talks.
In a statement, China's foreign ministry said the United States should stop interfering in Hong Kong and Chinese affairs and move to stop the latest bills on Hong Kong from becoming law, Reuters reported.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.62%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 0.75%, Shanghai Composite Index 0.78%, South Korea's Kospi 1.3% and Singapore's STI 0.28%.
US light crude oil fell 17 cents to US$55.04 and Brent was down 23 cents to US$60.68.
Petronas Chemicals fell 15 sen to RM7.21 and erased 2.12 points while Petronas Gas lost 24 sen to RM16.46 and wiped ouut 0.84 of a point and Petronas Dagangan lost six sen to RM24.16.
Dialog lost two sen to RM3.43, YINSON 11 sen to RM6.52 and its call warrants Yinson-C6 tumbled 11 sen to four sen. Refiner Petron lost 11 sen to RM5.01.
Tenaga fell 10 sen to RM13.66 and erased one point, Genting eight sen lower at RM6.05 and GentingM two sen to RM3.23 but Sime Darby gained one sen to RM2.36 and MISC four sen higher at RM8.34.
G3, which staged a mild rebound on Tuesday after hitting limit down on Monday, lsot 20 sen to RM2.66.
Pharmaniaga's disappointing third quarter results saw it falling 19 sen to RM2.21. It posted lower net profit of RM481,000 compared with RM15.05mil a year ago as it was impacted by higher operating costs.
A rally in crude palm oil prices for third month delivery to a two-year high of RM2,699 bolstered investor sentiment in plantations. At 5.20pm, it was up RM75 to RM2,697.
Among the plantations, KL Kepomng advanced RM1.10 to RM23.60 and pushed the index up 2.07 points, IOI Corp rose two sen to RM4.45, PPB Group four sen to RM18.20 and Sime Plantation was flat at RM5.14.
Small capitalised plantations player TSH Resources jumped 17.5 sen to RM1.13 – the highest since February this year. United Plantations rose 12 sen to RM25.82.
As for banks. Maybank inched up two sen to RM8.67, AmBank, CIMB and RHB Bank were flat at RM4.18, RM5.38 and RM5.80 respectively. HL Bank fell four sen to RM16.96 while Public Bank gave up eight sen to RM19.92.
The ringgit fell 0.18% against the US dollar to 4.1645 but firmed up 0.31% against the pound sterling to 5.3698.
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