KUALA LUMPUR (March 15): The FBM KLCI dropped 11.79 points or 0.6% after investors sold KLCI-linked Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd shares in the final trading minutes. The Malaysian stock market could have also taken cue from news that Parliament may be dissolved by the end of this month to pave the way for Malaysia's 14th general election (GE14).
At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at its intraday low at 1,845.27. Hong Leong Financial shares fell 36 sen to RM18.74. Other KLCI-linked decliners included Nestle (M) Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.
Reuters reported that Parliament may be dissolved on March 28, 29 or 30, making way for a general election that must be held by August. It said a new government would be in place before mid-May, suggesting that the election date could be set for the end of April or early May.
Reuters reported that analysts and ruling party sources told Reuters this week Prime Minister Najib Razak was confident of an election victory and that polls could be called as early as April.
Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Loui Low Ley Yee told theedgemarkets.com market sentiment is not encouraging at the moment because people are waiting for Parliament to be dissolved and the GE14 date.
“People are on profit-taking mode instead of aggressive buying. Meanwhile, after taking cues from the US’ planned tax on Chinese imports, it could also contribute to investors’ fear of a potential trade war,” he said.
Asian stock markets closed higher after erasing losses. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.12%, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.25% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng increased 0.34%. Reuters reported that Asian markets took their cues from Wall Street shares, which fell for the third straight session overnight after US President Donald Trump sought to impose fresh tariffs on China, intensifying fears of a trade war.