Mounting fears of trade war drags KLCI lower

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 7): The FBM KLCI trended lower at mid-morning today in lkine with the slump at most regional markets, on mounting fears of a trade war.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI fell 5.25 points to 1,843.12.

Losers led gainers by 479 to 144, while 280 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 589.49 million shares valued at RM396.76 million.

The top losers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, AirAsia Bhd and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd.

The actives included Daya Materials Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, HB Global Ltd, K.Seng Seng Corp Bhd (KSSC), MMAG Holdings Bhd and PDZ Holdings Bhd.

The gainers included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, KSSC, Hong Leong Industries Bhd, Apex Equity Holdings Bhd and Eita Resources Bhd.

Global stocks and the dollar slumped on Wednesday after a key advocate for free trade in the White House announced his resignation, fanning fears President Donald Trump would go ahead with tariffs and risk a trade war, according to Reuters.

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, seen as a bulwark against protectionist forces within the Trump administration, said on Tuesday he was leaving, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders’ brief said like it expected, the technical rebound was short-lived and the near term upside could be limited as traders would be focusing on the upcoming FOMC meeting to understand the interest outlook for 2018.

“Also, Dow futures point lower after Trump’s economic advisor, Gary Cohn has resigned.

“With the weaker Dow futures at this juncture, coupled with the softer sentiment across the board after the potential impose of import tariffs by the US, we think the KLCI may trend sideways with the resistance pegged around 1,860.

“Nevertheless, the downside likely to be limited as buying interest may emerge ahead of the GE14,” it said.