Malaysian shares seen tracking US equity, oil gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 19): Malaysian shares may track overnight US shares and global crude oil gains after US policy makers indicated interest rate hikes will be gradual.

Reuters reported that US stocks rallied on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve suggested a less aggressive timeline for raising interest rates even as it opened the door for the first hike in almost a decade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.27%, S&P 500 gained 1.21% while Nasdaq Composite added 0.92%

Yesterday, Malaysia's FBM KLCI rose 9.7 points or 0.54% to close at 1,797.57.

While KLCI futures rose, the closing numbers were, however, lower than the index. March 2015 KLCI futures settled at 1,795.50 while April 2015 closed at 1,793.50.

Today, oil and gas-related shares may be closely watched following substantial gains in crude oil prices.
 
These include names like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd besides actively-traded Sumatec Resources Bhd and KNM Group Bhd.
 
Reuters reported that oil prices jumped as much as 6% on Wednesday as the dollar fell after the Federal Reserve indicated it preferred a more gradual path to normalising US interest rates despite being open to the first rate hike in almost a decade.

Brent closed up US$2.40 or 4.5% at US$55.91 a barrel. In post-settlement, it extended its gain to above US$3, or 6%, reaching US$56.84. US crude finished up US$1.20, or almost 3% at US$44.66 a barrel and above US$45 post-settlement.