KLCI snaps three days of gains on oil, US-China trade uncertainty

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 20): The FBM KLCI closed 4.17 points or 0.26% lower today amid US-China trade spat uncertainty and as lower crude oil prices weakened Malaysian share trade sentiment.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed down at 1,601.14 after after three consecutive days of gains. Today, the KLCI was traded entirely in negative territory at between 1,598.32 and 1,604.38 as Asian shares fell.

Reuters reported that Asian shares lost out to safe-harbour bonds on Wednesday as Sino-US trade talks produced nothing but white noise, while concerns about a supply glut left oil prices nursing their biggest one-day loss in seven weeks.

It was reported that figures from the American Petroleum Institute out late Tuesday showed a far larger rise in crude stocks than expected. It was reported that Brent crude futures eased another 10 cents to US$60.81 a barrel, after sliding 2.6% overnight, while US crude dipped 2 cents to US$55.19.

"The prospects for progress on trade dimmed when China condemned a US Senate measure on Hong Kong, vowing to take the steps necessary to safeguard its sovereignty and security. The Senate unanimously passed legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong.

"Late Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had threatened to raise tariffs further if China would not agree to a deal that he liked. The aggressive tone unsettled Wall Street (in overnight trades) and the Dow ended down 0.36%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.06% and the Nasdaq added 0.24%," Reuters reported.

In Malaysia today, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com the decline in the KLCI was in line with weaker sentiment across Asian stock markets.

“I believe that the KLCI will hover around this 1,600-level and at this level, I believe it’s [at a] low enough [level] to attract investors,” said Wong.

He said that Malaysian share market movement will depend on the July-to-September quarterly corporate financial results announced during the current reporting season.

Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 2.9 billion shares worth RM1.98 billion traded across the bourse. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas)-related counters appeared to have taken cue from lower crude oil prices.

Among the KLCI's 30 components, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd's share price slid 15 sen or 2.04% to close at RM7.21 to become the KLCI's top percentage decliner followed by Petronas Gas Bhd.

Petronas Gas fell 24 sen or 1.44% to RM16.46. Across Bursa, Petronas Gas and Petronas Chemicals were among top decliners with other oil and gas-related shares like Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd and Yinson Holdings Bhd.