KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): The FBM KLCI closed down 3.72 points or 0.22% at 1,674.52 after Asian share markets stumbled as news of China's slower industrial output growth, which missed analysts' forecasts, raised concerns about the world’s second-biggest economy.
Malaysian oil and gas-related shares rose in active trade to partly help propel volume across Bursa Malaysia higher at 4.77 billion shares amid higher crude oil prices.
As investors closely watch external factors, Lee Cherng Wee, a senior analyst at JF Apex Securities Bhd, told theedgemarkets.com that Malaysian shares are trading at current levels "pending more clarification from the Government to boost sentiment”.
In China markets, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite closed down 1.2% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng erased losses to finish up 0.15%. Elsewhere across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed down 0.02%, while South Korea's Kospi erased losses to gain 0.34%.
Reuters, quoting official data, reported today China's industrial output grew 5.3% in the first two months of this year, the slowest pace of expansion in 17 years. It was reported that analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would slow to 5.5% in January-February from December's 5.7% gain.
Across Bursa Malaysia today, volume rose to 4.77 billion shares worth RM2.75 billion compared with yesterday's four billion shares valued at RM2.39 billion.
Today, the most active shares included oil and gas-related stocks Destini Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd and Carimin Petroleum Bhd at trade volumes of some 264 million, 222.5 million and 129.5 million respectively.
Destini shares closed up seven sen at 32.5 sen while Sapura Energy rose one sen to 35 sen. Carimin Petroleum added 10.5 sen to 94 sen.
Oil and gas-related shares rose amid higher crude oil prices. Reuters reported that oil prices nudged higher on Thursday to sit just off a four-month high reached in the previous session as investors focused on global production cuts and supply disruptions in Venezuela. International Brent crude oil futures were at US$67.61 a barrel at 0054 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close.
"OPEC continues to cut output amid ongoing supply issues, while the situation in Venezuela remains bleak," ANZ Bank was quoted as saying in a research note.