KLCI down 12.51 points to end below 1,600 as Trump renews trade war concerns

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 13): The FBM KLCI finished 12.51 points or 0.78% lower at 1,597.22 today with Asian shares after US President Donald Trump's speech failed to add clarity on the status of US-China trade talks. Investors also took cue from Hong Kong's intensifying protest.

At Bursa Malaysia's 5pm closing bell, the KLCI finished lower at 1,597.22 after falling to its intraday low of 1,593.91, partly due to KLCI component Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd's share price drop.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks and Wall Street futures fell on Wednesday, as confusing signals over the extent of progress made in US-China trade talks and concern about intensifying unrest in Hong Kong hurt demand for risky assets.
 
It was reported that US President Donald Trump had on Tuesday said in his speech at The Economic Club of New York that a trade deal was "close" but gave no new details on when or where an agreement would be signed, disappointing investors in what was billed as a major speech on his administration's economic policies.

"Trump also rattled some investors by threatening China with even more tariffs if they do not sign a deal. Oil prices fell as diminishing prospects for an immediate resolution to a 16-month long trade war between the world's two-largest economies suggested less demand for energy in the future," Reuters reported.

In Malaysia today, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice president of research Vincent Lau said just when a US-China trade deal seemed certain, "Trump’s speech had caused US-China trade tensions to erupt again".

Lau said Petronas Chemicals' share price drop after reporting weaker quarterly results also weighed the KLCI down. Petronas Chemicals' share price closed down 42 sen or 5.38% at RM7.38 to become the largest-percentage decliner across the 30 KLCI components. Leading KLCI decliners included Axiata Group Bhd and Genting Bhd.
 
Earlier today, theedgemarkets.com, quoting Petronas Chemicals' Bursa filing, reported that Petronas Chemicals' net profit fell 55% year-on-year to RM553 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2019 (3QFY19) from RM1.21 billion as average product prices decreased in tandem with lower crude oil prices.

It was reported that for 9MFY19, Petronas Chemicals' cumulative net profit fell to RM2.47 billion from RM3.78 billion a year earlier.

Across Bursa today, turnover was 2.14 billion shares valued at RM1.74 billion. There were 503 decliners versus 277 gainers after broad-based selling across the exchange.

All Bursa indices closed down except for the property, transportation and utilities gauges.