FBM KLCI down as US trade, political cues hit world sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): The FBM KLCI dropped 6.97 points or 0.4% in tandem with Asian share losses. Global markets took cue from the US' planned tax on Chinese imports and US President Donald Trump's move to fire his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI ended at 1,857.06. The KLCI fell as KLCI-linked Nestle (M) Bhd topped Bursa Malaysia decliners. KLCI-linked decliners included IOI Corp Bhd and Axiata Group Bhd.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com that “the worry is about US President Donald Trump’s trade policy." Wong said investors are concerned that the US' planned import tax may worsen world trade.

Such sentiment led to Asian share losses today. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 0.87% while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.34%. In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng decreased 0.53% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite was 0.57% lower.

Reuters reported that shares faltered and the dollar skidded on Wednesday as investors fretted over the threat of new US tariffs on Chinese imports, brushing aside data that showed the Asian economy got off to a solid start in 2018. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan IT index declined as Trump sought to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion of Chinese imports.
Investor appetite for risk was also hit by Trump's move to fire his Secretary of State, regarded as a moderate in his administration, reinforcing market uncertainty about Trump's future policies. It was reported that Trump dismissed Tillerson following a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran. He was replaced with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.