FBM KLCI up after China said Jan exports higher

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 8): The FBM KLCI rose 3.06 points or 0.2% on bargain hunting and after China said January exports and imports increased 11.1% and 36.9% respectively from a year earlier.

At 12:30pm, the KLCI settled at 1,839.74 points. The KLCI extended gains today following a 24.23-point rise yesterday.

On Tuesday, the index fell 40.62 points with global equities amid higher US bond yield and US interest rate hike concerns.

Today, analysts appeared unconvinced on the sustainability of the KLCI's rise. Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd wrote in a note that Malaysian stocks "may succumb to further profit-taking activities after the strong rebound as traders would turn defensive after the heightened volatility trade earlier this week".

However, China's latest external trade numbers may cheer world markets. Reuters reported that China's January trade growth easily beat market expectations, with exports rising 11.1% year-on-year and imports surging 36.9%. Quoting customs data showed on Thursday, Reuters reported that China had a trade surplus of US$20.34 billion for the month, the lowest since a rare deficit in February last year.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected January shipments from the world's largest exporter to have risen 9.6%, slightly slower than the 10.9% increase in the previous month. Import growth had been expected to rebound to 9.8%, after a sharp deceleration to 4.5% in December.