KLCI drifts lower on re-emerging fears of trade war

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 7): The FBM KLCI started off on a flat note this morning in line with the retreat of U.S. stock futures on re-emerging fears of a trade war, following the resignation of a key free trade advocate at the White House.

At 9.05am, the FBM KLCI dipped 1.15 points to 1,847.22.

The top losers included Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Nestle (M) Bhd, Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, Maxis Bhd and Hartalega Holdings Bhd.

U.S. stock futures and the dollar slumped on Wednesday after a key advocate for free trade in the White House announced his resignation, fanning fears President Donald Trump would go ahead with tariffs and risk a trade war, according to Reuters.

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, seen as a bulwark against protectionist forces within the Trump administration, said on Tuesday he was leaving, it said.

S&P 500 futures dropped more than one percent in early Wednesday trade, said Reuters.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders’ brief said like it expected, the technical rebound was short-lived and the near term upside could be limited as traders would be focusing on the upcoming FOMC meeting to understand the interest outlook for 2018.

“Also, Dow futures point lower after Trump’s economic advisor, Gary Cohn has resigned.

“With the weaker Dow futures at this juncture, coupled with the softer sentiment across the board after the potential impose of import tariffs by the US, we think the KLCI may trend sideways with the resistance pegged around 1,860.

“Nevertheless, the downside likely to be limited as buying interest may emerge ahead of the GE14,” it said.