FBM KLCI slips as China-US trade optimism dissipates

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 26): The FBM KLCI fell 5.58 points or 0.32% today with Asian peers as optimism on US-China trade talks appeared short-lived. Malaysian shares also contended with lower crude oil prices.
At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,719.00 as investors were mindful that although US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would delay a tariff hike on US$200 billion of Chinese imports, there is no guarantee that the delay will translate into a formal agreement that will benefit trade activities.

Investors are “coming back to their senses,” Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd research head Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com today.

Reuters reported today that Trump said on Sunday he would delay a tariff hike on US$200 billion of Chinese imports in the clearest sign yet that both sides were making progress in the talks, but he also sounded a note of caution, saying a deal "could happen fairly soon, or it might not happen at all".

It was reported that today's losses in Asian stock markets came as JPMorgan analysts urged investors to "curb some of their enthusiasm" over the trade talks, saying the extension to the deadline was a "foregone conclusion".

Across Bursa Malaysia today, 2.64 billion shares worth RM2.21 billion exchanged hands as oil and gas-related equities closed down amid lower crude oil prices. Top decliner Petronas Dagangan Bhd closed down RM1.60 at RM26.80.

On oil markets, Reuters reported that oil inched down today to extend losses of more than 3 percent from the previous session, easing after Trump called on OPEC to rein in its efforts to boost prices. It was reported that Brent futures were at
US$64.66 a barrel at 0533 GMT, down 10 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.