KLCI tracks Asian equity gain after China reports better manufacturing PMI data

KLCI tracks Asian equity gain after China reports better manufacturing PMI data
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 31): The FBM KLCI finished up 22.01 points or 1.66% today at 1,350.89, while Bursa Malaysia small market capitalization (small cap) stocks climbed by a larger quantum, as global investors reacted to stronger China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) data and as they continued to weigh the global economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bursa’s small cap index closed up 384.96 points or 4.36% at 9,208.67, as investors concluded equity trades for the last day of 2020’s first quarter today.

According to Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong, the KLCI’s performance reflected investor’s reaction to data today on China's official manufacturing PMI, which rose to 52 in March 2020, from a record-low 35.7 in February.

"In addition, the recent sell-down (in Malaysian shares) was too steep,” Wong told theedgemarkets.com. 

Today, Malaysian shares tracked gains across Asian equity indices. In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 1.85%, while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite rose 0.11%. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi gained 2.19%.

Across Bursa today, 3.52 billion shares worth RM2.88 billion were traded across the bourse. A total of 708 counters gained versus 185 decliners.

Top active counters included oil and gas-related Bumi Armada Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd and Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, as crude oil prices rose today after falling yesterday to their lowest in 18 years at some US$20 a barrel. 

Today, top active stock Bumi Armada registered a volume of some 114 million shares. The stock closed up 0.5 sen or 3.85% at 13.5 sen.

Crude oil prices have reached current levels, as investors weighed the Covid-19 outbreak’s impact on demand for the commodity and as the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war leads to anticipation of higher oil supply in world markets. 

Reuters reported crude oil prices rose today, after U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed during a phone call on Monday to have their top energy officials meet to discuss slumping prices.

"Oil prices steadied (today), after diving to the lowest in almost 18 years on Monday, as lockdowns for the virus squeezed demand, even as Saudi Arabia and Russia vied to pump more product. U.S. crude added US$1.12 to US$21.20, while Brent crude futures gained 28 cents to US$23.01 a barrel,” Reuters reported.