KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and Southeast Asian markets were in the red at midday on Friday as worries about the fallout from the coronavirus mounted, especially the World Health Organisation's (WHO) declaration of a global emergency.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI was down slightly by 0.66 of a point or 0.04% to 1,544.93. Turnover was 2.02 billion shares valued at RM1.22bil. The broader market was weaker though as decliners beat advancers by five to one or 740 losers to 146 gainers and 293 counters unchanged.
Asean markets were jittery, with Philippines skidding 1.85%, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite falling 1.5%, Singapore's Straits Time Index shed 0.18% and Thailand's SE Index 0.15% lower.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 0.22% higher, Taiwan's TAIEX recovered slightly to climb 1.07% after the 5% rout the previous day but South Korea's Kospi lost 0.15%.
Reuters reported the death toll from the virus crossed the 200-mark in China with confirmed cases of infection reported in at least 22 other countries and regions.
The WHO director-general on Thursday said the greatest concern was the virus' potential spread to countries with weaker healthcare systems, compounded by cases of person-to-person transfer of the virus outside China.
Economists have signalled the impact of the new virus could be worse than that of the Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002-2003, which took 800 lives and cost the global economy an estimated US$33bil, Reuters added.
At Bursa, weighing on the KLCI were Petronas Chemicals which fell 20 sen to RM6.25 and erased 2.48 points. Lotte Chemical Titan lost 17 sen to RM2.06 after the weaker results.
Petronas Dagangan fell four sen to RM22.46 but Petronas Gas rose four sen to RM16.04.
US light crude oil rebounded US$1.12 to US$53.26 and Brent jumped US$1.16 to US$59.45.
Crude palm oil fell RM43 to RM2,609 per tonne. Sime Plantation rose 10 sen to RM5.10 and added 1.06 points, KL Kepong and IOI Corp notched a trwo sen gain each to RM22.92 and RM4.53 while PPB Group was flat at RM18.66.
Top Glove rose three sen to RM5.92 and Hartalega two sen to RM5.97. MAHB fell five sen to RM6.82 while IHH shed one sen to RM5.79.
South Korea's SK Hynix, the world's No.2 memory chip maker, warned a new virus outbreak in China could pose a threat to chip production and said it would sharply reduce annual investment after posting a steep fall in quarterly profit.
KESM fell 80 sen to RM10.10, Dufu 15 sen to RM3.97, MPI 14 sen to RM12 and Frontken 14 sen to RM2.36.
Icon Offshore rose 10 sen to 34 sen while Icon-OR was flat at 0.5 sen.
Among the banks. HL Bank rose 24 sen to RM16, Public Bank added six sen to RM18.96, RHB Bank two sen to RM5.75, CIMB was flat at RM4.95, Maybank shed one sen to RM8.48.
The ringgit rose 0.04% against the US dollar to 4.0877.
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