KLCI falls 1.79% as global shutdown from Covid-19 looms amid fears of economic collapse

KLCI falls 1.79% as global shutdown from Covid-19 looms amid fears of economic collapse
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 30): The FBM KLCI fell 1.79% at mid-morning as a global shutdown loomed with the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to wreak havoc on most economies.

At 10.02am, the FBM KLCI lost 23.71 points to 1,319.38.

Decliners led advancers by 482 to 158, while 193 counters traded unchanged. Trading volume was 777.11 million shares valued at RM418.67 million.

The top decliners included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Yinson Holdings Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Vitrox Corp Bhd and Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd.

The actives included Careplus Group Bhd, Vortex Consolidated Bhd, Ekovest Bhd, LKL International Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, AirAsia Group Bhd and Bumi Armada Bhd.

Meanwhile, the gainers included Malaysia-listed Hang Seng Index-linked put warrants and SCGM Bhd.

Reuters said Asian shares slid on Monday and oil prices took another tumble as fears mounted that the global shutdown for the coronavirus could last for months, doing untold harm to economies.

"We continue to mark down 1H20 global GDP forecasts as our assessment of both the global pandemic's reach and the damage related to necessary containment policies [have] increased," the newswire reported JPMorgan economist Bruce Kasman as saying.

They now predict global GDP could fall at a 10.5% annualised rate in the first half of the year, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said this week, the KLCI could advance further towards an envisaged target at 1,350-1,360 levels due to expectations of 1Q20 portfolios rebalancing by money managers and the RM250 billion PRIHATIN package coupled with recent stock market-friendly measures by the Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia.

“Nonetheless, further upside could be capped by uncertainties lingering from the MCO extension, more countries going into lockdown and spiking Covid-19 cases worldwide.

“We reiterate a 'Sell Into Rally' strategy and rebalance portfolio to sectors that are deemed to be more defensive as the Covid-19 is not only a public health crisis but also a global economic crisis as activities worldwide shut down,” it said.