KLCI falls 0.84% amid regional decline after weak China data

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): The FBM KLCI fell 0.84% today, in line with the decline in most Asian markets as China reported weak economic numbers, spurring fears of a slowdown in the country.

The benchmark index closed 14.04 points or 0.84% lower at 1,661.96. Week-on-week, the index declined 1.11% since its closing of 1,680.54 on Dec 7.

"The sentiment on Asian stocks was bad, largely affected by the Chinese economic data which showed weak imports, exports and industrial production. This has also affected the local stock market," said Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew.

Pong added that the KLCI is currently seeing a slight downtrend and warned that there may be further declines amid Lembaga Tabung Haji's (TH) announcement that it would cut down on its holdings of equities.

"While TH said it is cutting down on their holdings of small caps, this could affect the sentiment on the big caps as well," he said.

The bourse saw some 1.5 billion shares worth RM1.38 billion traded. Market breadth was negative as decliners outnumbered gainers at 477 versus 224.

Leading the decliners were Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd and United Plantations Bhd, while the gainers were led by Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd and Can-One Bhd.

Asian markets were mostly down, with Japan's Nikkei down 2.02%, South Korea's Kospi down 1.25% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.62%.

Reuters reported that Asian shares tumbled after China reported a set of weak data, fanning fresh worries of a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy and leaving investors fretting over the wider impact of a yet unresolved Sino-US trade dispute.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3%, it said.