KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets ended in a sea of red on Monday as fears of escalating Middle east tensions sent the FBM KLCI below 1,600 while crude oil and gold rallied.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 13.62 points or 0.85% to 1,597.76. Turnover was 3.40 billion shares valued at RM1.63bil. Decliners beat advancers more than two to one or 646 losers to 269 gainers while 343 counters were unchanged.
European shares extended losses as tensions following the killing of a top Iranian general by the US kept buying restricted to safe havens, while energy stocks benefited from higher oil prices, Reuters reported.
Gold prices jumped to a near seven-year high of US$1,574.96, up US$22.76 or 1.47% while global equities extended losses from Friday. Oil prices rose on fears of supply disruptions. US light crude oil rose US$1.19 to US$64.24 and Brent advanced US$1.51 to US$70.11.
Reuters reported China's blue-chip index gave up early gains to end lower as rising Middle east tensions dampened sentiment, forcing investors to overlook positive cues such as progress in U.S.-China trade talks and Beijing's policy support to prop up the economy.
The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.01%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 1.34% while Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.91%.
The ringgit weakened against the US dollar by 0.06% to 4.1048.
Among the consumer stocks, Nestle fell 60 sen to RM146.50 and F&N 28 sen to RM34.30 while others were off their early lows.
As for the KLCI stocks, Maxis fell 19 sen to RM5.33 and wiped out 2.62 points, Digi 11 sen to RM4.49 and erasing 0.64 point while Axiata ended down four sen to RM4.16.
Maybank fell 10 sen to RM8.65 and wiped put nearly two points from the KLCI; AmBank nine sen to RM3.83, Public Bank six sen to RM19.90, RHB Bank one sen to RM5.74 while CIMB was unchanged at RM5.22 but HLFG and Hong Leong Bank added 16 sen each to RM17.68 and RM17.60.
Petronas Gas fell 28 sen to RM16.88 and erased nearly one point, Petronas Chemicals one sen lower at RM7.45 and Petronas Dagangan two sen to RM23.10 while Dialog shed one sen to RM3.48 and MISC two sen lower at RM8.47.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM29 to RM3,087 per tonne. PPB Group lost 18 sen to RM18.78, Sime Plantations 12 sen to RM5.38, IOI Corp and KL Kepong two sen each to RM24.98 and RM4.72.
Tenaga lost 16 sen to RM13.10 and erased 1.6 points, IHH seven sen to RM5.55, Genting eight sen to RM6.04 and GentingM four sen to RM3.28 while Sime Darby shed one sen to RM2.23.
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