KLCI up, Asian markets down as US-China trade spat escalates

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 11): The FBM KLCI rose 1.64 points or 0.1% on bargain hunting after falling with Asian shares as the US-China trade spat escalated.

At 5pm, the KLCI finished at 1,688.77 points after declining to its intraday low at 1,679.18 points.

The KLCI closed higher despite Asian share markets ending in the red. In China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite fell 1.76% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.29% lower. Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 1.19%.

Reuters reported that the sell-off in Chinese markets knocked Asian stocks on Wednesday as US threats of tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods pushed the world's two biggest economies ever closer to a full-scale trade war.

It was reported that China accused the United States of bullying and warned it would hit back after the Trump administration raised the stakes in their trade dispute, threatening 10% tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods. China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday it was "shocked" and would complain to the World Trade Organisation, but did not immediately say how it would retaliate. In a statement, it called the US's actions "completely unacceptable".

In Malaysia, Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com: "We are still early into the second quarter earnings season, so I would say that the market is currently experiencing some temporary stability. For the time being, some of the bad news has been out of the way, and institutions at least think that the market does not warrant any further selldown for now."

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed higher after index-linked stocks including Public Bank Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd rose.

Public Bank Bhd was the top gainer after the counter climbed 26 sen to RM22.80. The stock saw some six million shares traded.