KLCI down 0.68% amid renewed trade war concerns; i-Stone up

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 17): The FBM KLCI closed down 11.41 points or 0.68% today in line with Asian share markets' decline after US president Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on another US$325 billion of Chinese goods.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,657.53 as volume across Bursa Malaysia topped 3.8 billion shares. Volume rose amid broad-based selling across the exchange and as investors bought newly-listed i-Stone Group Bhd shares.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said there has been no development on the US-China trade war, which continues to affect investment sentiment.

“The (KLCI) decline is in line with the fall in regional markets (today) and the US markets overnight. The main issues affecting sentiment like the trade war and other uncertainties, are still there and there has been no real development so far,” said Wong.

Malaysia's ongoing corporate reporting season for the April-to-June quarter also led to selling in the stock market amid expectations of poor performance among listed companies here, according to Wong.

The corporate reporting season for the April-to-June quarter starts as early as July although most companies announce their results in August.

“Investors have some insight into how the 2Q (quarterly) results are going to be, so there is some selling activity currently,” he said.

Across Bursa Malaysia today, the exchange saw volume rising to 3.83 billion shares worth RM1.97 billion. Yesterday, volume across Bursa reached 3.32 billion shares worth RM2.09 billion.

Today's broad-based selling led to 550 decliners versus 227 gainers. Top-active stock i-Stone registered a volume of some 448 million shares after the stock closed up 8.5 sen or 53% at 24.5 sen.

i-Stone shares , which were listed today on Bursa's ACE Market at 16 sen each, also ended among Bursa Malaysia top gainers.

Leading decliners included KLCI stocks Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and PPB Group Bhd.  

Across Asia, Reuters reported that stock market trade was generally muted with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.25%.

It was reported that Asian shares drifted off on Wednesday as anxious investors awaited more earnings reports from corporate America, while the dollar held firm in the wake of robust US retail data and a Brexit-driven dive in the pound.

It was reported that oil prices also nursed losses on hints US tensions with Iran could be easing and as data showed stockpiles fell by less than expected last week. Not helping the mood was Tuesday's threat from Trump to put tariffs on another US$325 billion of Chinese goods, amid market nervousness over when face-to-face talks would resume, according to Reuters.