No reprieve seen as FBM KLCI skids to lowest in five years amid Wuhan virus fears

No reprieve seen as FBM KLCI skids to lowest in five years amid Wuhan virus fears
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 31): No reprieve was seen on the local bourse today as the FBM KLCI recorded losses for the ninth consecutive day as fears deepened across the world after the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak's death toll passed the 200-mark, while infection rates surpassed SARS'.

Though the benchmark index started the day with a little rebound and rose to as high as 1,552.46 — up 0.44% from the previous day's close of 1,545.59 — it struggled to maintain the momentum.  

At 5pm, it closed 14.53 points 0.94% lower at 1,531.06 — its lowest in more than five years. Turnover was high at 3.79 billion shares worth RM3.29 billion, with 834 losers versus 150 gainers.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd research vice president Vincent Lau, who described the market as "a sea of red" today, said investors remained cautious.

TA Securities, meanwhile, said in a note today that “increased worries over the economic fallout from the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China should see stocks retrace further as external sentiment deteriorates".

Top decliners dragging the index were Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, which fell 26 sen or 4.03% to RM6.19; Maxis Bhd, which fell 19 sen or 3.45% to RM5.31; and MISC Bhd, which ended 26 sen or 3.27% lower at RM7.69.

Reuters reported that investors remained on edge over how much the virus could disrupt the global economy, following WHO's declaration of a global health emergency.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday said the greatest concern was the virus' potential spread to countries with weaker healthcare systems, compounded by cases of person-to-person transfer of the virus outside China.

Governments worldwide are now taking precationary measures to help prevent the virus from spreading by advising citizens not to travel to China or temporarily halting incoming flights from the country.

Back in Malaysia, the Sabah Cabinet has suspended all flights from China, with immediate effect. As for the rest of the country, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told reporters earlier today that the Government has yet to decide whether to restrict flights from China to Malaysia.

He added that any decision on the matter should be made jointly by the Cabinet after taking into account the Health Ministry’s directive.