Bursa Malaysia closes lower on heightened geopolitical tensions

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed lower today as investor sentiment on stock markets globally soured following heightened United States-North Korea geopolitical tensions.

At 5pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) eased 3.55 points to 1,765.59 from Monday's close of 1,769.14.

The key index opened 0.59 of-a-point lower at 1,768.55 and hovered between 1,761.21 and 1,769.12 throughout the day.

Market breadth was negative with 603 losers and 276 gainers, while 366 counters were unchanged, 599 untraded and 30 others suspended.

Volume, however, increased to 3.69 billion units valued at RM2.73 billion from 2.46 billion units worth RM2.36 billion on Monday.

In a note today, Public Investment Bank Bhd said most markets eased off as resumption in rhetoric between the US and North Korea grabbed headlines again to put investors off the stock market, making them to switch towards safe-haven assets.

It was reported that North Korea warned on Monday that it could shoot down US war planes after calling US President Donald Trump's tweet on its leaders as a "declaration of war".

Regionally, the Singapore Straits Times index was 3.02 points or 0.09% lower at 3,212.89, Japan's Nikkei dipped 67.39 points or 0.33% to 20,330.19 and South Korea's Kospi index fell 6.08 points or 0.26% to 2,374.32.

However, oil and gas-related counters suffered little impact from the geopolitical risk, as the benchmark Brent Crude oil price soared to a 26-month high today, after Turkey threatened to cut crude oil flows from Iraq's Kurdistan region to the outside world.

Bucking the weaker overall market, oil and gas-related counters, including Petronas Dagangan leapt 20 sen to RM24.46, Hibiscus rose 3.5 sen to 66.5 sen, KNM advanced one sen to 29 sen, Bumi Armada inched up 1.5 sen to 75.5 sen and Sapura Energy was five sen better at RM1.71.

Of the heavyweights, Maybank improved two sen to RM9.80, Tenaga was flat at RM14.40, Public Bank fell four sen to RM20.56, Sime Darby eased six sen to RM9.04 and Petronas Chemicals was three sen lower at RM7.32.

The FBM Emas Index shed 34.77 points to 12,567.74, the FBMT 100 Index slid 32.68 points to 12,225.34, and the FBM Emas Syariah Index retreated 37.76 points to 12,783.88, as the FBM 70 dipped 70.62 points to 14,976.25 and the FBM Ace declined 58.44 points to 6,522.90.

Sector-wise, the Plantation Index slipped 11.68 points to 7,874.69, the Industrial Index trimmed 16.70 points to 3,210.79, while the Finance Index was 2.49 points higher at 16,643.59.

Among active counters, Hubline gained 1.5 sen to 10 sen, UMW Oil and Gas eased 2.5 sen to 31.5 sen, as Sino Hua-An and Alam Maritim improved 1.5 sen each to 22 sen and 23 sen respectively and Icon Offshore rose four sen to 30.5 sen.

Main Market volume increased to 3.08 billion shares worth RM2.63 billion from 1.78 billion shares worth RM2.25 billion on Monday.

Volume on the ACE Market narrowed to 387.87 million units valued at RM83.26 million versus 525.63 million units valued at RM95.42 million.

Warrants improved to 222.76 million units worth RM20.13 million from 156.62 million units worth RM17.28 million.

Consumer products accounted for 61.88 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products (642.63 million), construction (72.16 million), trade and services (1.88 billion), technology (184.90 million), infrastructure (7.62 million), SPAC (303,000), finance (113.93 million), hotels (1.17 million), properties (88.98 million), plantations (12.25 million), mining (79,800), REITs (12.59 million), and closed/fund (nil).

The physical price of gold as at 5pm stood at RM170.85 per gramme, up RM1.98 from RM168.87 at 5pm yesterday. — Bernama