FBM KLCI higher in line with regional sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 29): The FBM KLCI index, which closed higher today, is likely to continue upward momentum in the next few trading days, amidst expectation the US Federal Reserve may not raise interest rates so soon.

Plantation stocks have performed well, thanks to news that the government will implement its B7 biodiesel mandate in stages, starting next month.

At 5pm, the benchmark index gained some 13.87 points or 0.76%, to close at 1839.55. The last minute push in the index came on gains in heavyweight plantation stocks, such as Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK). The benchmark index has been trading in the positive zone, throughout the trading day.

Some 2.01 billion shares worth RM2.11 billion, changed hands. Gainers led risers 586 to 232, while 280 counters were unchanged.

The most actively-traded entities include Sumatec Resources Bhd and Efficient E-Solutions Bhd.

The gainers were led by KLK, followed by PPB Group Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd (PETDag). The biggest decliners included Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, United Plantations Bhd and Huat Lai Resources Bhd.  

When contacted, a fund manager said investors being positive ahead of the FOMC meeting, could be the factor that pushed up the KLCI index.

"Since regional markets are heading higher, Malaysia has no exception to it," he said.

Reuters reported Asian shares advanced to one-month highs on Wednesday, helped by Wall Street which gained on optimism over corporate earnings and prospects that the US Federal Reserve will reaffirm its willingness to wait longer before raising interest rates, according to Reuters.

The fund manager expects the KLCI index to continue trading in the green in the next few days, but the increase is likely to hover between 10 to 20 points.  

"Should there is no major announcement, the KLCI will most probably to trade and remain at the current level," he added.

As for investing ideas, he advised investors to look for stocks that were undervalued but have strong balance sheets.

On the regional front, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.46% at 15,553.91, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.27% at 23819.87, while South Korea's KOSPI rose 1.84% to close at 1961.17.