FBM KLCI sinks 3.18% as Bursa construction stocks fall

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): The FBM KLCI fell 56.56 points or 3.18% with Asia shares as investors took cue from Italy's political crisis.

Malaysian construction stocks fell after the Government said it decided to scrap the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-Singapore HSR) and Malaysia's third mass rapid transit (MRT3) projects.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,719.28 after declining to its intraday low at 1,709.51. Bursa Malaysia's small-cap and construction indices dropped 3.37% and 10.88% respectively.

Across Bursa Malaysia, volume was 3.6 billion shares valued at RM4.46 billion as construction stocks ended among the top decliners and most-active list.

Top decliners included Gamuda Bhd, which fell 95 sen to RM3.18. The most-active list included YTL Corp Bhd whose shares dropped nine sen to 93 sen.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com: “Due to this uncertainly (after Malaysia scrapped the KL-Singapore HSR and MRT3 projects), constructions stocks will continue to face volatility risk in the short term."

Across Asian stock markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.52% while South Korea's Kospi fell 1.96%. In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.4% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite was 2.53% lower.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks extended a global sell-off on Wednesday as Italy's political crisis rippled across financial markets, toppling the euro to a 10-month low, pushing up borrowing costs for Rome and sending investors into safer assets such as US Treasuries.

Investors fear that repeat elections in the euro zone's third-largest economy — which could come as soon as July — may become a de-facto referendum on Italian membership of the currency bloc and its role in the European Union.

"The way Italy's short-term debt yields are spiking makes you think default risk is on radar in the market. It tells how grave the situation is. What the markets are starting to factor in is not a default per se but an early election leading to a victory of eurosceptics and an exit from the euro," Makoto Noji, senior strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities was quoted as saying.