KLCI tumbles 1.6% on renewed public debt worries

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 23): The FBM KLCI tumbled to its lowest level in three months on renewed concerns over national debt levels, following recent statements by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng which signalled the national debt had breached RM1 trillion.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI tumbled 1.6% or 28.67 points to 1,816.36.

Losers thumped gainers by 516 to 97, while 568 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.42 billion shares, valued at RM1.25 billion.

Top losers included Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, MISC Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Lafarge Malaysia Bhd, Bursa Malaysia Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

The actives included NetX Holdings Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, AirAsia X Bhd, My E.G. Services Bhd, Borneo Oil Bhd, Hubline Bhd, PUC Bhd and Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd.

The gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, Time Dotcom Bhd, Southern Acids (M) Bhd, Apollo Food Holdings Bhd, Hong Leong Industries Bhd and Inari Amertron Bhd.

Asian shares were mostly weak on Wednesday, with investors cautious after U.S. President Donald Trump tempered optimism over progress made so far in trade talks between the world's two largest economic powers, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei lost as much as 1.4% to hit a 1-1/2-week low and the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.6%, Reuters said.

As for the global market, Affin Hwang Capital Research said US stocks dropped overnight as markets perceived China trade talks yielded little, whilst tensions with North Korean and Iran escalated.

The research house said that stocks in Europe rose on positive earnings, led by Telco and Auto sectors, also on China’s announcement of tariff cuts for import duties on automobiles.

“Crude oil prices [are] expected to continue to surge higher, which might [be] contributed by Venezuela’s oil output collapsing at an accelerating pace.

“Locally, the FBM KLCI Index dipped 8.55 points on Tuesday. The index is anticipated to continue drifting lower, as technical indicators show slowing down of momentum, as well as heavy selling interests on heavy weight counters,” Affin Hwang Capital Research added.