KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets gained back some ground in Wednesday trade to close higher amid range-bound trading after data showed global growth slowing.
The stream of negative news included a higher jobless rate in Britain, a fall in US housing starts and tepid German second-quarter growth.
Sentiments also weakened when French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the expansion of an European financial rescue fund as well as closer fiscal union via the offering of common bonds for the 17-member euro union.
European markets opened lower, Dow Jones futures slid and gold advanced US$7.59 to US$1,793.14 per ounce while silver rose 5 cents to US$39.93.
The local bourse's benchmark FBM KLCI gained a third of a percent to 1,503.07 while Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.15% to 2,828.53.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed half-a-percent lower at 9,057.26 after earlier having dropped more than 1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added four-tenths of a percent to 20,289.03, Shanghai's A share index shed a quarter of a percent to 2,601.26 and Seoul's Kospi Index gained two-thirds of a percent to 1,892.67.
At Bursa Malaysia, gainers outpaced losers 453 to 255 while 309 other counters were traded unchanged. There were 892.81 million shares traded with a total turnover of RM1.60 billion.
The local bourse was mainly propped up by buying of select bluechip counters particularly in plantations.
PPB rose 38 sen to RM17.18, KLK up 24 sen to RM21.34 and Batu Kawan gained 16 sen to RM16.02.
Among other plantation stocks, PLS rose 25 sen to RM1.20 and Kwantas lost 8 sen to RM1.99.
Sindora advanced 28 sen to RM2.93 while its parent Kulim, which announced yesterday a proposal to take the former private, was up 3 sen to RM3.69.
Esso jumped 61 sen to RM4.95, Petronas Chemicals was up 8 sen to RM6.59 and Dialog was 2 sen higher at RM2.69.
AirAsia was down 2 sen to RM3.73 while among industrial stocks, Fima rose 27 sen to RM6, Sanichi was up half-sen to 6 sen and Jaya Tiasa was down 8 sen to RM5.92.
BAT was 12 sen lower at RM44 and JTI shed 7 sen to RM6.83. Nymex crude oil was up 74 cents to US$87.39 per barrel while crude palm oil for October delivery gained RM35 to RM3,035 per tonne.
The ringgit was quoted at2.976 to the US dollar, 4.287 to the euro and 4.881 to the pound sterling.
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