FBM KLCI 13.45 points lower on Trump's tariff scare

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 5): The FBM KLCI closed 13.45 points or 0.7% lower on concerns of a potential global trade war after US President Donald Trump announced the US' planned import tax on steel and aluminium.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,842.62 after Asian shares ended lower. Among the 30 KLCI-linked stocks, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd was the top decliner in percentage terms after the stock fell 50 sen or 9.1% to RM4.97.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior research analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI's weakness was mainly from Press Metal's share price drop. Leong said the US' planned import tax on steel and aluminium had also affected the broader market.

Across the KLCI, there were 21 decliners and eight gainers while one stock was unchanged. “Until we can get a clearer picture about his (Trump's) plans (expected to be announced this week), we could see further weakness in the market,” said Leong.

Malaysian shares fell with Asian stock markets. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.66% lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.28% while South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.13%.

Last week, Reuters quoted Trump as saying the duties of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium would be formally announced this week. Today, it was reported that Asian investors dumped shares and drove to the safety of the yen and gold on Monday amid fears of a global trade war and worries of political uncertainty in Italy, risks that cloud the outlook for world growth.

Italian voters delivered a hung parliament on Sunday, flocking to anti-establishment and far-right parties in record numbers and casting the euro zone's third-largest economy into a political gridlock that could take months to clear.

In the US, Trump's proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium was met with warnings of retaliation from the rest of the world over the weekend.