FBM KLCI marginally up on foreign support as oil hits sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 9): The FBM KLCI rose by a marginal 0.22 point or 0.01%, supported by increased foreign participation in the Malaysian stock market. At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,804.95 points after erasing losses in the final trading hour.

During the day, the KLCI climbed to its intraday high of 1,811.29 points before falling into negative territory in the final trading hour. At 5pm, the KLCI closed higher on gains in index-linked stocks like Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Loui Low Ley Yee told theedgemarkets.com that increased foreign participation in the Malaysian stock market supported sentiment.

"Most notable counters that have benefited the most are export-related counters, specifically the tech and wood-based (furniture) sectors due to the weakening of the ringgit over the last two months," he said.

Across Bursa Malaysia today, 2.31 billion shares worth RM2.29 billion were traded.

Top gainers included Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Tenaga and Petronas Chemicals.

Leading decliners included KLCI-linked stocks IHH Healthcare Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd and MISC Bhd.

At a glance, the Malaysian stock market today appeared to have taken cue from overnight crude oil losses on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that oil prices slid about 3 percent on Wednesday as a trade dispute between the US and China escalated further and after Chinese import data showed a slowdown in energy demand. Brent crude futures fell US$2.37 to settle at US$72.28 a barrel, a 3.17 percent loss. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell US$2.23 to settle at US$66.94 a barrel, a 3.22 percent loss. The session low of US$66.32 was the lowest since June 22.

On Thursday, oil prices eked out gains, reflecting concerns about Iranian crude supplies as the US hit Tehran with new sanctions, halting Wednesday's declines in the face of an escalating China-US trade dispute and worries over Chinese demand, Reuters reported.