KLCI weighed down by banking, plantations, oil and gas stocks

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 23): In line with major regional indexes, the FBM KLCI declined today, falling 1.87 points to close at 1,601.87 points. The drop in the benchmark index was led by Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd.

Commodity prices remain under pressure from an expected escalation in the trade war, which could impact future demand, said Mohd Redza Abdul Rahman, head of research at MIDF.

"Oil price hovers around US$70 per barrel for Brent and the palm oil price is still trading below RM2,000 per metric tonne as the ringgit continues to depreciate, currently at 4.1940 against the US dollar. This was made worse by poorer-than-expected results of companies such as IOI Corp Bhd," he told theedgemarkets.com.

Market breadth was negative by over three times on Bursa Malaysia today as 644 counters declined while only 177 stocks recorded gains.

The most actively traded stocks were Vortex Consolidated Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd and Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd.

Shares in Asia had slumped to multi-month lows on the back of concerns that the trade war would continue to escalate, further hurting global growth and business investment, Reuters reported.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.62% while China's CSI300 was down to its lowest point since late February after losing 1.79% today.