KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): The FBM KLCI rose 2.81 points or 0.2% after volatile trade as global investors anticipated US inflation numbers later today. Investors closely watch US inflation numbers for clues on the pace of US interest rate hikes.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks stalled on Tuesday as Wall Street shares lost steam, while the dollar sagged on the back of declining US yields. Investors were focused on US inflation data due later in the day (1230 GMT) for clues on the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate rises this year.
"Today's CPI inflation data is likely to add further colour to the US inflation picture, however it probably won’t add any further clarity to the overall inflation outlook puzzle, given that the Fed doesn’t use CPI as its inflation benchmark," Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets was quoted as saying in a note dated March 13, 2018.
"Nonetheless, it is still a useful gauge in establishing when and how the price pressures we’ve been seeing build up in US supply chains start to filter down into the wider economy," Hewson said.
At Bursa Malaysia, the KLCI closed at 1,864.03 after trading between 1,864.31 and 1,853.97 today. At 5pm, the KLCI ended higher on gains in KLCI-linked stocks including Nestle (M) Bhd and Public Bank Bhd among Bursa Malaysia top gainers.
Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&N) were also among Bursa Malaysia leading gainers. Top decliners included Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd and Hartalega Holdings Bhd.
Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice president of research Vincent Lau said Nestle, Dutch Lady and F&N's share price rise "is a reflection of the confidence that foreign investors have in the country’s (Malaysia) economic fundamentals and outlook."