KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended lower on Monday as investors braced for an escalation in US-China tensions and a string of dismal manufacturing data.
At 5pm, the benchmark index closed 31.19 points lower, or 2.22% to 1,376.59. The index opened 18.95 points lower at 1,388.83 this morning.
Market breadth was negative as losers overpowered the gainers on a ratio of 599-to-284 stocks. Traded volume stood at 5.47 billion worth RM2.47bil.
Analysts said investors returned from a the Labour Day break to a fresh spat between the US and China. The weaker trade data also weighed on sentiments.
Malaysia’s March exports fell 4.7% to RM80.12bil from RM84.06bil a year ago a due to a drop in electrical and electronic products and also due to movement control order (MCO) which took effect in the second half of the month.
According to Reuters the decline, however, was smaller than the 8% fall forecast by analysts surveyed by Reuters. Exports in February had risen 11.8%, the strongest on-year growth in 16 months.
Meanwhile, the headline IHS Markit Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance, stood at 31.3 last month from 48.4 in March.
At Bursa Malaysia, Dutch Lady was the top loser, falling 98 sen to RM47.12. Public Bank declined 52 sen to RM15.86 and Nestle shed 50 sen to RM139.60.
Fraser & Neave gained 36 sen to RM32.10, Hexza added 29.5 sen to RM1.21 while Rubberex closed 28 sen higher to RM1.78.
Asia benchmark finished mostly lower as Hang Seng Index ended 4.2% lower at 23,613.80 while South Korea’s Kospi closed down 52.19 points, or 2.68%, at 1,895.37