Major O&G stocks fall as oil price weakens ahead of festive period

Major O&G stocks fall as oil price weakens ahead of festive period
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 23): Most of the oil and gas related counters were down in the morning trading session as crude oil price slipped ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays as traders took profits.

At 12.30pm, Petronas Gas Bhd led the losers by falling 16 sen or 0.75% to trade at its lowest point so far today RM21.12, albeit with a thin trading volume of 73,400 shares. The current price values it at RM41.79 billion.

This was followed by SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd's one sen or 0.61% drop to RM1.62, with 5.06 million shares changing hands. SapuraKencana had earlier fallen to a low of RM1.60 before paring its loss. It has a market value of RM9.59 billion.

Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd's share price retreated one sen or 1.07% to settle at 92.5 sen at the midday break, after 110,200 shares were traded, giving it a market value of RM819.81 million.

Bumi Armada inched down 0.5 sen or 0.82% to 60.5 sen, with about 1 million shares done. At 60.5 sen, it has a market value of RM3.52 billion.

Meanwhile, the Brent Crude Oil inched down 0.35% to US$54.86 (RM245.75) per barrel while US West Texas Intermediate Index (WTI) was down 0.49% to US$52.69 per barrel as at 12.24pm.

According to Reuters, the strong US dollar also weighed on sentiment in the commodities market.

"I think it is the usual reversal of fortunes that exist in the Asian time zone after the previous session's close," Sydney's Ayers Alliance chief investment officer Jonathan Barratt told Reuters.

"In this case there is some profit-taking after the last session gains. Oil prices are also weaker due to the stronger dollar," he said.

The dollar index was slightly lower on Friday but was still close to a 14-year peak of 103.65 earlier this week.

A strong US dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities including oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Barratt has forecast US crude will trade around US$60 a barrel in the first quarter next year, while Brent will be around US$62–US$63 a barrel.

Prices are expected to be supported by a deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrel per day from Jan 1.