KLCI falls 11.58 pts to intraday low on oil prices

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12): The FBM KLCI declined 11.58 points or 0.66% to its intraday low, as lower crude oil prices dampened market sentiment.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,732.99. This is also the lowest close for the index in the last six months.

Reuters reported US crude futures continued to drop, after falling below US$60 a barrel for the first time in five years.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong told theedgemarkets.com that market sentiment remained weak, as the global oil prices continued to weaken.

"The main culprits that dragged down the KLCI index were Sapura Kencana Petroleum Bhd and Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd.

"Despite CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and other stocks such as IOI Corp Bhd and Petronas Chemical Group Bhd gaining, it was not enough to support the benchmark index," Wong said.

Across the stock exchange, decliners led gainers by 690 to 178, while 252 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.45 billion shares, valued at RM1.78 billion.

Top decliners included Petronas Gas Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd and Selangor Properties Bhd.

Top gainers included Perduren (M) Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and PPB Ggoup Bhd.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) was the most actively-traded counter, with 71 million shares done on the stock's final trading day. MAS fell 0.5 sen or 1.85% to close at 26.5 sen.

Earlier, investors scrambled MAS shares, as today offered the last chance for buyers to own the shares, which will entitle them to the 27 sen a share privatisation offer by government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Across the region, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.66%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng weakened by 0.27%.

Reuters reported Asian shares got a lift on Friday, after upbeat U.S. spending data suggested weaker oil prices have some upside for the American economy, though a continued slide in crude prices kept gains in check, and heralded a gloomy opening for Europe markets.

Global crude prices have plunged in recent weeks on massive oversupply, raising fears that deflation could hit economies around the world. But data on Thursday (Dec 11) showed cheaper gasoline prices apparently helped U.S. consumer spending rise broadly last month (November), and jobless claims also fell.