M'sian shares to take cue from US markets, Anwar sodomy conviction appeal

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): Malaysian shares may take the cue from overnight US market losses besides a crucial court decision on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against his sodomy conviction.

A conviction will bar 67-year-old Anwar from political office and participating in the country's next general election.

Yesterday, the KLCI fell 1.67 points or 0.1% to 1,811.58 after rising to an intra-day high of 1,818.31.

Overnight, the US' Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.53% while S&P 500 dropped 0.42%. Nasdaq Composite was 0.39% lower.

US shares fell on Greece's debt and weaker China economic data concerns.

Today, the Malaysian stock market may also be closely watched against higher crude oil prices, which could direct the spotlight on oil and gas-related shares, and strengthen the ringgit.

The ringgit's strength hinges on crude oil prices as the commodity constitutes a crucial componenent of oil exporter Malaysia's economy.  
Reuters reported that oil prices rose for a third straight session from near six-year lows as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) forecasted greater demand for crude this year and projected less supply from countries outside the group. Brent crude hit US$59.61 a barrel, its highest this year.

Higher crude oil prices may also shift market attention to shares of Malaysian plantation firms as costlier crude oil will encourage the use of palm oil as input for biodiesel production.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board will announce industry output and inventory data at about noon today.