KLCI down, oil up amid Middle East geopolitical fears

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): The FBM KLCI closed 4.48 points or 0.28% lower today, as external factors including Middle East political uncertainties and the Hong Kong civil unrest continued to impact global investor sentiment.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,592.93. Across Bursa Malaysia, 2.03 billion shares worth RM1.39 billion were traded, as Asian shares fell.

Reuters reported most Asian share markets slipped on Monday, as investors waited for more clarity on China-US trade talks, while oil gained more than 1% as Middle East tensions remained elevated.

It was reported that market sentiment was fragile with civil unrest in Hong Kong, tensions in the Middle East and worries a trade deal between the US and China could take a long time to materialise. It was reported that moves were further exaggerated by low volumes, as Japanese markets were shut for a public holiday.

"Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since the attack (on Saudi Arabia's oil facility), and the Pentagon has ordered additional U.S. troops to be deployed in the Gulf region to strengthen Saudi Arabia's air and missile defences. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the troops are for "deterrence and defence" and that Washington aimed to avoid war with Iran," Reuters reported.

In Malaysia today, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com that the market is looking for direction and that US-China trade war is no longer fresh news to investors.

“The market is currently looking for direction. It is September, so we are not in reporting season at the moment and the uncertainty over external factors such as the US-China trade war has become stale,” he said.

Earlier today, TA Securities Holdings Bhd wrote in a note saying following further deterioration in the KLCI's technical momentum and trend indicators after last week's uninspiring downward bias trading pattern, "more downward correction potential is indicated this week."

"(In the) meantime, on the US-China trade front, cancellation of planned visits to US farms last Friday by the Chinese trade delegation, which will dampen hopes China would resume purchases of US agricultural goods, should spillover to adversely impact domestic market sentiment. Nevertheless, potential end third quarter window-dressing action should act to cushion downside towards the month-end," TA said.