KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI ended higher on Thursday, the first quarter of 2022, bucking the regional trend as investors picked up bargains after the recent decline.
At the closing bell, the index went up 4.14 points, or 0.26%, to 1,587.36. The index had earlier risen to a high of 1,589.06.
Year-to-date, the FBM KLCI is up 19.83 points, or 1.26% against 1,567.53 on Dec 31, 2021.
Broad market sentiment was positive, with 530 losers outpacing 370 gainers and 445 counters which traded unchanged. About 2.86 billion shares, valued at RM2.36bil, changed hands.
Top gainers on Bursa Malaysia included PMB Technology, which added 94 sen to RM18.34, Heineken Malaysia rose 44 sen to RM22.48 and Aeon Credit gained 30 sen to RM15.12.
Nestle lost 90 sen to RM133.60, Genting Plantations fell 19 sen to RM8.55 and KESM declined 10 sen to RM8.60.
Among the banks, Maybank rose six sen to RM8.94, Public Bank added two sen to RM4.67, RHB Bank climbed two sen to RM5.96, Hong Leong Bank advanced four sen to RM20.20 and CIMB unchanged at RM5.33.
Meanwhile, oil prices plunged on news that the US was considering the release of up to 180 million barrels from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve (SPR).
US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) fell US$4.76 to US$103.06 and Brent lost US$4.05 to US$109.40 per barrel.
“These efforts point to two glaring issues. First, the US has had little success in persuading Opec members to increase output. Second, any expansion in US supply to global markets that hits the oil price will only be sustained once Ukraine and Russia are close to striking a ceasefire deal,” SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said.
“That outcome does not seem likely yet despite growing optimism earlier in the week. So perhaps the strategic release will bridge that gap until there is less war and more peace.
“But at minimum, it could temper oil prices' upside ambitions until we get a formal announcement from the White House on the exact details,” he added.
OANDA senior analyst Jeffrey Halley still expects Brent to trade in a choppy US$100 to US$120 range, with WTI bouncing around in a US$95 to US$115 a barrel range.
“An Iran nuclear agreement finally getting over the line, in combination with OPEC+ monthly increases and an extended global SPR release will change that outlook,” he said.
Among the key regional markets:
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 0.73% to 27,821.43;
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.06% to 21,996.85;
Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.44% to 3,252.20;
Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.27% to 17,693.47 and;
South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.4% to 2,757.65 points.