KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets were in a sea of red on Thursday, with Bursa Malaysia also joining suit as losses by Petronas-linked stocks weighed on the FBM KLCI as the US-China trade tension showed no signs of abating.
At 5pm, the KLCI was down 8.95 points or 0.56% to 1,592.19 – the weakest in about three weeks as the recent rebound abated due to the trade tensions.
Turnover was 2.93 billion shares valued at RM2.15bil. The broader market was weaker with 320 gainers, 552 losers and 381 counters unchanged.
Reuters reported global stocks slid further as the standoff between the world's two largest economies extended beyond trade, reducing the odds of a "phase-one" deal this year and forcing investors to seek shelter in safe-haven assets.
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index skidded 1.57%, Japan's Nikkei 225 0.48%, Shanghai Composite Index 0.25%, Taiwan's Taiex 0.63%, South Korea's Kospi 1.35% and Singapore's STI 1.16%.
Weaker crude oil prices cast a pall of gloom on oil and gas stocks on Bursa. US light crude oil fell 23 cents to US$56.78 and Brent 27 cents to US$62.13.
Petronas Dagangan lost 58 sen to RM23.58, Petronas Gas 32 sen to RM16.14 and erasing two points from the KLCI. Heavyweight Petronas Chemicals fell 20 sen to RM7.01 and wiped out 2.82 points.
Dialog was unchanged at RM3.43. Among the penny stocks, Alam Maritim rose 1.5 sen to 14.5 sen with 165 million shares done, while its warrants gained 0.5 sen to seven sen on firmer earnings but Bumi Armada lost three sen to 51.5 sen and KNM shed one sen to 40 sen.
Seacera skidded 11 sen to 38 sen with 64.4 million shares done.
Power giant Tenaga lost 18 sen to RM13.48 and erased 1.8 points from the KLCI, Sime Darby, Genting Malaysia and MISC shed one sen each to RM2.35, RM3.22 and RM8.33 while Genting was unchanged at RM6.05.
Plantations rallied as crude palm oil (CPO) for third month delivery hovered at two-year peaks. It roise to a high of 2,709 per tonne in intra-day trade. Towards the close, it was down RM13 ro RM2,672.
Growth in palm oil production will be slow for the next few years, helping reduce stockpiles and boost prices, leading industry analyst James Fry said on Thursday.
Dry weather and lower fertiliser use - a move adopted by some growers to save costs - have affected output this year at top producers Indonesia and Malaysia, and will continue to be a factor in the coming years, Fry said at an industry conference, Reuters reported.
IOI Corp rose four sen to RM4.49, KL Kepong 10 sen to RM23.70. PPB Group four sen to RM18.24 but Sime Plantation shed three sen to RM5.11.
Sarawak Oil Palms rose 36 sen to RM3.05 and Genting Plantations 32 sen to RM10.60.
It was disappointing day for banks with Hong Leong Bank and AmBank down 12 sen each to RM16.84 and RM4.06, RHB Bank and Public Bank lost 10 sen each to RM5.70 and RM19.82, Maybank three sen to RM8.64 while CIMB was unchanged at RM5.38.
Spot gold fell 86 cents to US$1,470.77 per troy ounce.
The ringgit fell against the key currencies, slipping 0.11% to the US dollar to 4.1678; skidding 0.48% against the pound sterling to 5.3955, lower by 0.34% to the euro to 4.6221 and shedding 0.13% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0622.
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