KLCI flat after volatile trade

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 14): The FBM KLCI rose 0.67 point after vacillating between gains and losses. Investors could have taken the cue from a confluence of factors, which included Asian share gains and crude oil prices.

The weaker ringgit might have also contributed to Malaysian share trade dynamics. At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,723.78 after trading between 1,721.10 and 1,729.13 today.

Across Asian share markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 3.23% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.85% after Singapore's move to curb its currency appreciation led to expectation other world central banks would also ease monetary policy.

Such monetary sentiment bodes well for equities but not for Asian currencies like the ringgit. The ringgit weakened to 3.8898 against the US dollar although the Malaysian currency strengthened to 2.8526 against the Singapore dollar.

Reuters reported Asian stocks rose to their highest levels in more than four months on Thursday and regional currencies weakened, led by the Singapore dollar as hopes grew that more central banks will join the city state in easing monetary policy in the coming months.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore surprised markets by setting the rate of appreciation of the Singapore dollar policy band at 0% after data previously showed economic growth stalled in the first quarter.

In Malaysia, a senior fund manager told theedgemarkets.com that the outcome of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) meeting this Sunday and oil price movements "will be closely watched" also.

According to news reports, major crude oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia will meet in Qatar this Sunday to finalise an agreement to freeze the commodity's output at January levels.

Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.63 billion shares worth RM1.95 billion traded. Decliners beat gainers at 437 against 364.

Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd was the top gainer while the leading decliner was British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd. Sumatec Resources Bhd was the most actively-traded stock.