Trade war fears continue to weigh on KLCI

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 2): Malaysian shares started the week lower, along with its regional peers as concerns about the potential for a trade war between the US and China continue to drag down the FBM KLCI.

At 5pm, the benchmark index fell by 6.45 points or 0.38% to close at 1,685.05 points, after hitting an intra-day high of 1,697.15 points. The index fell to an intraday low of 1,677.33 points.

When contacted, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior research analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that despite the KLCI opening higher at opening bell today, it gave up all its intra-day gains by market close due to the concerns.

"Concerns (on the trade war) would persist in the short term as there will be tariff from US on US$34 billion worth of China goods by July 6, and there might be more to come as indicated by US President Donald Trump," he said.

"Oil price also [saw] some pullback today. Generally, the market was quite bearish today, the silver lining would be the resilience among the consumer product sector as they are defensive in nature," Leong added.

Reuters reported that a renewed slide in Chinese shares and a sobering set of factory surveys dragged down Asian markets today, while the euro and the Mexican peso were both jolted by political developments at home.

Regionally, Japan's Nikkei slipped by 2.21% today, together with South Korea's Kospi, which was down 2.35%, while Hong Kong Hang Seng Index rose 1.61%.

Trading volume decreased to 1.7 billion shares worth RM1.62 billion compared with Friday's 2.23 billion shares worth RM2.98 billion. There were 342 gainers versus 505 losers, while 378 counters remained unchanged.

Top gainers were led by Supermax Corp Bhd, while British American Tobacco (M) Bhd was the biggest decliner on Bursa Malaysia. Sapura Energy Bhd was the most actively traded counter, with 123.05 million shares done.