KLCI falls 8.28 points on foreign selling, new trade war concerns

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 3): The FBM KLCI declined 8.28 points or 0.53% to close at 1,562.27 with Asian shares, after US President Donald Trump restored tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina and as investors evaluated US factory data.

Trump's latest move on Brazil and Argentina added fresh global trade war concerns, amid the existing US-China dispute.

In Malaysia, fund managers said the KLCI declined today, possibly on foreign selling, as institutional investors rebalanced their Malaysian equity portfolios.

“It is the year-end, so may be foreign funds want to unwind certain positions. However, this might change later, once they have looked at the portfolios,” Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com.

The KLCI pared losses at 1,562.27 at 5pm market close, after falling to its intraday low at 1,556.17.

Across Bursa Malaysia at 5pm, 2.34 billion shares worth RM1.74 billion were traded. Top decliners included  Nestle (M) Bhd, Fraser and Neave Holdings Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.

Top gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, VSTECS Bhd and IGB Bhd. Leading active stocks included Ekovest Bhd, PUC Bhd and Khee San Bhd.

Globally, Reuters reported most Southeast Asian stock markets on Tuesday tracked global equities lower, on concerns about weak US manufacturing data and signs of new fronts in the tariff scenario, posing an additional risk to the global economic outlook.  

It was reported that a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed US manufacturing activity contracted in November for the fourth consecutive month, stoking concerns that the longest period of economic expansion in US history could be losing steam.

It was reported that Trump said on Monday that he would restore tariffs on US steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina. "Trump's tariff threat overshadowed encouraging data from euro zone economies and China — Southeast Asia's biggest trading partner," Reuters reported.