Soaring crude oil prices send FBM KLCI past 1,600

KUALA LUMPUR: After an upbeat performance last Friday, the relentless surge in energy prices prompted Bursa Malaysia shares to post further gains in Monday morning trading.

As of 9:05 a.m., FBM KLCI was up 14.88 points at 1,606.6 as a jump in crude oil futures prices pushed blue chips past psychological resistance at 1,600.

At the time of writing, Brent was up another 5% to US$102.87 a barrel as investors continued to invest in the commodity amid Russian-Ukrainian tensions.

The domestic market appeared to ignore the negative performance in US stock futures, which points to a lower open on Wall Street for Monday’s trading.

Nevertheless, the threat of an escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is keeping investors on their toes, according to Malacca Securities Research.

Although Wall Street’s rebound extended on Friday, market conditions are expected to remain fragile as US stock futures were trending lower at the time of writing due to renewed concerns over the tension between the Ukraine and Russia as President Putin places his nuclear forces on high alert,” he said in a report.

Petronas Chemicals climbed 46 sen to 9.75 RM on higher crude prices.

Plantation stocks were also up, led by Sime Darby Plantation increasing by 15 sen to RM4.93 and Kuala Lumpur Kepong climbing by 72 sen to RM16.20.

In the meantime, bank stocks remained firm on recent corporate earnings and expectations that rising energy prices will have a positive ripple effect on the domestic economy.

Maybank rose two sen to RM8.90, Public Bank rose six sen to RM4.43, CIMB gained seven sen to RM5.74 and Hong Leong Bank climbed 14 sen to RM20.

However, tech counters continued to slide as investors turned to the economic recovery plays. MPI fell 30 sen to RM35.70, Pentaster lost 20 sen to RM3.37 and Vitrox lost 15 sen to RM7.63.

Among the assets, SIAB gained 1.5 sen to 31.5 sen, KNM lost 1.5 sen to 15 sen and Dataprep lost one sen to 26 sen.

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Felix J. Dixon