KUALA LUMPUR (April 15): The FBM KLCI rose 4.21 points or 0.2% to its intraday high, after trading between gains and losses ahead of a crucial crude oil producers' meeting this Sunday.
According to news reports, major crude oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia will meet in Qatar to finalise an agreement to freeze the commodity's output at January levels. The agreement aims to stabilise crude oil prices, which are hovering around US$40 a barrel now.
In Malaysia today, the KLCI closed at 1,727.99 at 5pm, after trading at its intraday low at 1,721.10. The Malaysian stock market and ringgit are closely watched against crude oil prices, as the commodity forms a crucial portion of the country's economy and Government income.
Today, investors could have also taken the cue from China's first quarter economic growth numbers.
Reuters reported Asian stocks were subdued on Friday, as caution over a weekend meeting of oil producers tempered risk sentiment, while the region's markets took China's relatively upbeat gross domestic product data in stride, as the numbers were in line with expectations.
China's economy grew 6.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, and while this was the slowest since 2009, it met expectations and provided additional evidence that a slowdown there may be bottoming out.
In Malaysia, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that stock market sentiment was weaker today, as investors were cautious on the crude oil producers' meeting this weekend.
“The trading volume was thinner today. Investors tend to stay on the sidelines, ahead of the meeting this weekend. Sentiment was also dampened by the weaker economic growth in China,” Leong said via telephone.
Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.59 billion shares, worth RM1.71 billion, traded. Decliners beat gainers at 422 against 326.
British American Tobacco (M) Bhd was the top gainer, while leading decliner was Nestle (M) Bhd. AirAsia X Bhd and Eka Noodles Bhd were among the most actively-traded stocks.