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Malaysian Stocks Lose Yearly Gain on Higher Debt Concern

Updated on
  • Benchmark stock index falls for fourth day, led by bank shares
  • ‘Selling first and asking questions later’: Stanchart

Malaysia’s stock benchmark slid for a fourth day, erasing its advance for 2018, after the government said national debt was higher than previously disclosed due to some masking of accounts by the previous administration.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index closed 1.6 percent lower at 1775.66, the lowest since Dec. 27 in Kuala Lumpur. It had slumped as much as 2 percent. The benchmark lost gains of as much as 5.5 percent this year, as bank shares led Thursday’s decline.

"People are selling first and asking questions later," said Clive McDonnell, the Singapore-based head of emerging market equity strategy at Standard Chartered Bank. "I don’t think that’s a surprise to see those outflows given the uncertainty until there’s greater clarity on economic management going forward."

There was sudden panic selling, said Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer at Phillip Capital Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. Still, "we are accumulating selected blue chips as these have been battered. The outlook of the economy would be better with good corporate governance and a government that is more efficient and fair."

  • Foreigners sold nation’s stocks for 13 straight days
  • YTD outflows at $112 million as of Wednesday, reversing from inflows of $937.8 million as at end-April
  • Biggest drags on benchmark stock gauge Thursday: Maybank -3.9%, Public Bank -3%, CIMB -2.7%
  • Other decliners: Tenaga -1.2%, Axiata -2.9%, Genting Malaysia -3.3%, IHH -2.2%
(Updates closing price in second paragraph.)
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