FBM KLCI dips amid global coronavirus concerns

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24): The FBM KLCI closed lower today as coronavirus concerns weigh on regional and global markets.

The local benchmark index closed at 1,572.81 points, down 0.1% or 1.63 points. The index was weighed down by Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Genting Malaysia Bhd.

Trading at Bursa Malaysia was limited to the morning session today in conjunction with the Chinese New Year holidays.

Across Bursa, some 1.59 billion shares worth RM1.27 billion were traded. A total of 337 counters saw gains, 378 counters posted declines and 383 counters went unchanged.

Top actives included Impiana Hotels Bhd, DGB Asia Bhd and Supermax Corp Bhd — with the top gainers being Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd and G3 Global Bhd. Top losers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd and Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd.

Reuters reported today that concerns over the coronavirus have been weighing down on equity markets globally — with Chinese stocks seeing the biggest tumble registered in eight months, which had led global equity markets lower on Thursday as concern mounted about the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Millions of Chinese are preparing to travel for the Lunar New Year, which begins on Saturday, increasing the potential for the disease to spread.

The cities of Wuhan and Huanggang, representing a total population of about 18 million people, were put on a travel lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading, a public health measure that the World Health Organization called "unprecedented", Reuters reported.

It added that investors were moving to safe havens such as gold and US Treasuries.

At the time of writing, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.15% or 40.52 points at 27,949.64 points. Over in Japan, the Nikkei 225 posted a 0.68-point decline to 23,794.76 points.

FXTM Market Analyst Han Tan said in a note that the spread of the viral outbreak will play a part in how equities move in the final week of January.

He noted that should concerns over the coronavirus outbreak continue to dampen risk appetite, the exchange rate between the greenback and the local note could retrace to the 4.10 psychological level.

"Should concerns over the coronavirus outbreak continue to dampen risk appetite, USD/MYR could retrace towards the 4.10 psychological level. In the other direction, support for the currency pair should arrive around the 4.05 region," he noted.