KLCI finishes down 8.95 points but plantation shares rise

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 21): The FBM KLCI closed 8.95 points or 0.56% lower as a fresh US-China row on Hong Kong threatened to delay a much-anticipated US-China trade deal. Such sentiment led to weakness across Asian stock markets.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed down at 1,592.19, led by AMMB Holdings Bhd. Across the broader market, Bursa Malaysia plantation shares rose with higher crude palm oil (CPO) prices.

Global shares took cue from the fresh US-China row, which exacerbated both nations' trade war. Reuters reported that global stocks took a beating on Thursday as a fresh row between Washington and Beijing over US legislation on Hong Kong threatened to undermine their trade talks and delay a "phase one" deal that investors had initially hoped to be signed by now.

"The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two Bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights. The legislation, which has angered Beijing, has been sent to the White House for President Donald Trump's approval. A person familiar with the matter said Trump was expected to sign it," the newswire said.

In Malaysia, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com today that weakness in the KLCI was "mainly due to the US and China trade (talk) progress on reports that the partial trade agreement may not take place this year" after the US House of Representatives passed the two Bills to support protesters in Hong Kong.

Leong however noted that prices of Bursa plantation shares increased as CPO prices rose. CPO prices for Jan 2020 rose as much as RM22 to RM2,664 a tonne today.

Across Bursa, the exchange saw 2.93 billion shares worth RM2.16 billion traded. Top gainers included Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd and Genting Plantations Bhd.

Bursa's plantation index closed up 58.06 points or 0.82% at 7,141.15.

Among the KLCI's 30 components, the biggest percentage decliner was AMMB after the stock slipped 12 sen or 2.87% to close at RM4.06.