FBM KLCI gains with Wall Street as US-China trade spat tempers sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 1): The FBM KLCI increased 4.06 points or 0.23% to close at its intraday high after Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd's last-minute share price spike helped the KLCI erase losses. Analysts said today that overnight US share gains also supported the Malaysian stock market sentiment.
 
At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,788.31 points after falling to its intraday low at 1,777.58 points. At 5pm, it ended higher after KLCI-linked Malaysia Airports shares rose 23 sen to RM9.48.

Gains in other KLCI stocks like Petronas Gas Bhd and Digi.Com Bhd also helped the KLCI finish higher as investors evaluated US shares' overnight rise. Investors are also anticipating the US' interest rate decision after the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, which ends on Aug 1.
 
Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice president of research Vincent Lau told theedgemarkets.com that improved sentiment due to the US' equity rise helped sustain KLCI’s gain.

“The KLCI was able to retain its gain as sentiment improved following better earnings reported by US corporates led by Apple Inc, which has led to a rebound in US counters,” Lau said.

At Bursa Malaysia earlier today, the KLCI had however vacillated between gains and losses as investors evaluated the impact of the US-China trade spat and as markets took cue from China's share drop.

Reuters reported that Asian shares gave up ground on Wednesday, with weak data in the region and fears of an imminent escalation in the tariff war between the United States and China pulling markets lower even as strong earnings out of the US provided some support.

It was reported that conflicting signs over the state of US-China trade relations pulled markets in opposite directions. A Bloomberg report on Tuesday said that the United States and China were seeking to resume trade talks to defuse a battle over import tariffs. However, later reports that the US administration plans to propose tariffs of 25 percent instead of the initially proposed 10 percent on US$200 billion of imported Chinese goods injected uncertainty back into financial markets.

China shares ended lower. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite fell 1.8% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.85%. Reuters reported that China's stock markets fell sharply in afternoon trade to end lower Wednesday, as anticipation of more measures to curb property prices hurt developer shares, and as the Sino-US trade war looked set to escalate with the threat of higher US tariffs.