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KL bourse was Asia's highlight just months ago, but is now headed towards two-year low

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The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index has lost 11 per cent since its high at the end of August as foreign investors flee the nation's equity funds.

Singapore

JUST months ago, Malaysian stocks were among Asia's highlights. Now they're heading for some of the biggest monthly losses in the region.

The nation filing criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc for its role in the 1MDB scandal was the latest to hit the market, whose benchmark equity gauge is heading for a two-year low and its longest monthly losing streak in a decade.

Adding to investor concerns are the slide in oil prices, government spending cuts and the ongoing trade tension between the US and China.

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Market voices on:

"Fiscal issues after the elections are of great concern," said Stephen Innes, the head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda Corp in Singapore. "To a great extent, a lot of the investigation into misappropriation of funds via 1MDB has caused the government to pull back spending, which has been a big driver of the underlying economy. I am not that positive for equities due to issues around economic growth."

He'd turn bullish on the shares only if there were "a written-in-stone agreement that the trade war is over".

He'll also be watching how the 1MDB investigation plays out, he added.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index has lost 11 per cent since its high at the end of August as foreign investors flee the nation's equity funds. They're heading for a seventh month of withdrawals out of eight, with more than US$2.7 billion already pulled this year.

For Areca Capital Sdn's Danny Wong, the decline in share prices presents an opportunity to buy as he expects foreign selling to abate and earnings to recover next year. "The new government has now got its own people in the right positions, so now they would focus on getting the results," Mr Wong, the chief executive officer at Areca, said. "There are opportunities for those who want to get in."

Still, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index's valuation of 15.6 times estimated earnings for the next year is just around its five-year average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. And with stocks slumping worldwide, many have little hopes that the rout in Malaysian shares will ease any time soon. BLOOMBERG