FBM KLCI pares losses as China-US trade spat concerns ebb

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): The FBM KLCI pared losses to close 5.31 points or 0.3% lower while Asian shares erased losses to end higher. World markets took cue from US stock futures' rise as China-US trade spat concerns ebbed.

Reuters reported that world stocks came off six-week lows and US stock futures jumped on Monday on optimism that the United States and China are set to begin negotiations on trade, easing fears about a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

MSCI's world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, turned positive on the day, having earlier hit its lowest level since Feb 9, after The Wall Street Journal reported that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering a visit to Beijing to begin negotiations. US stock futures rose more than 1 percent on the news.

At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI closed at 1,859.91 at 5pm after the index fell to its intraday low at 1,852.55 points. Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.72%, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.84% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.79%.

In Malaysia, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI pared losses in line with the positive momentum across major Asian indices and US stock futures.

Leong said factors, which lifted Malaysian share market sentiment included "higher crude oil prices.”

Earlier today, Reuters reported that oil prices rose on Monday with international Brent crude futures opening above US$70 per barrel for the first time since January.

Prices were lifted by expectations that OPEC-leader Saudi Arabia may extend supply cuts into 2019, as well as concerns that the United States may re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In Asia, meanwhile, Monday saw the launch of Shanghai crude oil futures , potentially marking the dawn of a new oil price benchmark to rival dominant Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI).