KLCI reverses losses at 11th hour on O&G gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 17): The FBM KLCI reversed losses shortly before market closed for a 0.07% gain, after staying in negative territory for most of the day.

At 5pm, the KLCI rose 1.2 points to settle at 1,810.09 points, lifted by gains in oil and gas-based blue chips such as Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd and SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd.

These stocks had risen amid reports of higher crude oil prices. Reuters reported that Brent crude prices extended their rally beyond US$62 a barrel on Tuesday as the International Energy Agency warned of supply risks in the Middle East.

The agency's top economist Fatih Birol said on Tuesday that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presented a major challenge for the investment necessary to prevent an oil shortage in the next decade.

Despite crude oil gains, analysts said said Malaysian share trades had been "quite quiet" today ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which start this Thursday.

“There was not much activity in the market today, ahead of the long weekend. There has been some profit-taking, but I don’t see any other catalysts for the market,”  Benny Lee, chief market strategist of Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd told theedgemarkets.com.

According to Bursa Malaysia's website, the local bourse will be opened for trading between 9am and 12:30pm tomorrow (Feb 18). Malaysian markets will be closed after 12:30pm tomorrow.

Local markets will also be closed this Thursday (Feb 19) and Friday (Feb 20).
Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.67 billion shares worth RM1.49 billion exchanged. There were 381 decliners against 349 gainers, while 343 counters were unchanged.

Leading the decliners were British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, while Petronas Dagangan Bhd headed gainers. The most active stock was Wintoni Group Bhd.

The ringgit was traded at 3.5868 against the US dollar, and 2.6456 per Singapore dollar.

Markets were mixed across the region. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.1%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2%.

According to Reuters, U.S. stock futures and many share markets in Asia retreated on Tuesday after talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers broke down in acrimony, stoking fresh uncertainty over a bailout programme that Athens has rejected as "absurd".