KUALA LUMPUR (April 1): The FBM KLCI closed 4.47 points or 0.24% lower at 1,826.31 points as Asian markets reacted to the US stocks' weaker overnight performance.
In Malaysia, lower crude oil prices had also dented sentiment, especially on KLCI component stocks like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and plantation firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.
According to chief executive officer of Areca Capital Sdn Bhd Danny Wong, the drop in the KLCI was in tandem with the decline in other Asian markets. South Korea’s Kospi was down by 0.62%, while the Nikkei fell 0.9%.
“Asian markets including the KLCI are reacting to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell 200.19 points, another contributing factor to the drop in the KLCI is the performance of blue-chip counters such as SapuraKencana and Felda Global Ventures,” Wong told theedgemarkets.com.
Reuters reported that oil futures edged lower on Wednesday amid speculation that a last minute deal over Iran's nuclear programme would be reached that could allow more Iranian crude into world markets.
Talks between Iran and six world powers to settle a dispute around Tehran's nuclear programme extended beyond a Tuesday deadline, as the parties edged towards a deal but failed to agree on crucial details such as the lifting of U.N. sanctions.
Bursa Malaysia saw 2.91 billion shares valued at RM1.57 billion traded. There were 291 gainers against 478 decliners, while 325 counters remained unchanged.
Top gainers included Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd and Pharmaniaga Bhd. Meanwhile, decliners were led by British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Hartalega Holdings Bhd.
The most actively traded stock today was Xinghe Holdings Bhd.
Among decliners, Parkson Holdings Bhd was closely watched after the retailer issued a profit warning.
The profit warning came after its Hong Kong-listed unit was ordered to pay compensation to its landlord. Parkson said its earnings for financial year ending June 30, 2015 would be "lower by approximately RM45 million (4 sen per share)".
Shares of Parkson fell as much as 23 sen or 11% to RM1.96 before paring losses. At 5pm, the counter settled at RM2.10, with some six million shares changing hands.
The stock had resumed trading today following a suspension from 2:30pm last Monday till 5pm yesterday.
In currency markets, the ringgit traded stronger against the US dollar at 3.6993. Reuters reported that the ringgit found further support on higher bond prices.
But compared to the the Singapore dollar, the ringgit weakened to 2.7027.