KLCI lower on China data, oil

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 9): FBM KLCI ended lower in volatile trade as weaker China economic data and oil price uncertainty hit market sentiment.

At the 5pm closing bell, the KLCI finished 1.67 points or 0.1% lower at 1,811.58, after rising to an intra-day high of 1,818.31 in the evening.

Reuters said Asian shares wobbled on Monday, after dismal Chinese trade figures fuelled concern over a slowdown in the world's second largest economy, while solid U.S. jobs data were a mixed blessing as they raised chances of a U.S. interest rates hike mid-year.

Data published on Sunday showed China's trade performance slumped in January, with exports falling 3.3 percent from year-ago levels, while imports tumbled 19.9 percent — far worse than analysts had expected. The data highlighted deepening weakness in the Chinese economy.

Bursa Malaysia saw 2.12 billion shares, worth some RM1.94 billion, changed hands. Decliners led gainers at 426, over 392 decliners.

Top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd. Top decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd.

Asia BioEnergy Technologies Bhd was the most actively-traded stock across the bourse.

UOB KayHian head of research Vincent Khoo said the KLCI could sustain itself at current levels on firmer oil prices, amid falling U.S. oil rig counts.

Brent crude oil was traded at US$57.67 per barrel, at the time of writing.

“(Malaysian) trade figures reported last week, showed a record exports figure which could also bolster the prospect of ringgit,” Khoo told theedgemarkets.com.

The ringgit strengthened to 2.6320 against the Singapore dollar at 4:52pm. The ringgit however, weakened to at 3.5623 versus the US dollar.
 
In the region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.64%, while Japan's Nikkei added 0.36%.