KLCI slumps on US-China tensions, HK tumbles


KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets closed in the red on Friday, with Bursa Malaysia not spared, following the rising US-China tensions while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled more than 5% on a new security law proposal.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was down 15.35 points or 1.06% to 1,436.76 while year-to-date, it is down 9.56%.

Turnover was 6.69 billion shares valued at RM4.19bil. Decliners beat advancers 801 ro 289 while 299 counters were unchanged.

Reuters reported world stocks took a hit as China moved to impose a new security law on Hong Kong after last year's pro-democracy unrest, further straining fast-deteriorating US-China ties. The negative news overflowed to key Asian markets.

At Bursa, IHH fell 27 sen to RM5.43 and wiped out 4.36 points from the KLCI, Tenaga four sen to RM12.20 while Genting lost nine sen to RM3.99 and GentingM seven sen to RM2.29. However, Sime Darby gained two sen to RM2.04.

Meanwhile, US light crude oil fell 5.9% or US$2.01 to US$31.91 and Brent was down 4.9% or US$1.79 to US$34.27.

Petronas Chemicals fell 27 sen to RM5.90 and erased 3.98 points, Petronas Gas lost six sen to RM17.04 and Petronas Dagangan unchanged at RM20.30. Dialog ended the day down nine sen to RM3.59.

Refiner Petron lost 27 sen to RM4.35 after posting losses in the first quarter. Hengyuan 24 sen to RM3.69.

Public Bank fell the most among the banks, down 22 sen to RM15.26 and erased 1.57 points. Its first quarter net profit fell by 5.7% to RM1.33bil in the first quarter ended March 31,2020 from RM1.41bil a year ago as the banking industry faced heightened earnings pressure from the lower Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) and Covid-19 pandemic.

Maybank closed eight sen down to RM7.43 and wiped out 1.65 points, CIMB nine sen to RM3.47, RHB Bank and Hong Leong Bank eight sen each to RM4.74 and RM13.40 while AmBank was down six sen to RM3.

As for telcos, Maxis rose 15 sen to RM5.45 and added 2.16 points, Digi gained five sen to RM4.45 but Axiata lost seven sen to RM3.70.

BAT was battered, down RM1.58 to RM11.72, Ajinomoto 36 sen to RM14.12 and Nestle 30 sen to RM137.20.

Datasonic surged in active trade, up 21 sen to RM1.55.

Top Glove added 16 sen to RM11.82 and Hartalega unchanged a RM10.

Among the plantations, IOI Corp fell 10 sen to RM4.40, Sime Plantation six sen to RM4.92, KL Kepong 18 sen to RM21.68 but PPB Group gained 14 sen to RM16.88.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM43 to RM2,164 per tonne.

The ringgit weakened 0.36% to 4.3615 against the US dollar.

Reuters reported European shares opened broadly lower, with blue-chip indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt all down more than 1.5%.

That followed a sharp selloff in Asia after China said it would impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong -- sparking a warning from US President Donald Trump that Washington would react "very strongly" against an attempt to gain more control over the former British colony.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.9% at 2,813.77. It fell by the same margin on a weekly basis. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 2.3% on Friday and was also down by the same for the week.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 5.56%, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.8%, Taiwan's Taiex 1.79% and South Korea's Kospi 1.41% while Singapore's STI lost 1.99%.

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