KLCI up 0.18% on US inflation rate being within market expectation

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 15): The FBM KLCI rose 3.35 points or 0.18% to close at 1,838.28 in the final trading session before the Chinese New Year holidays on news that US January 2018 inflation data, which was released yesterday, was within the market expectation.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng said the US inflation data would not probably add fuel to the interest rate hikes.

"It is a short week now for regional markets. Judging from US markets' performance last night, I think most of the investors would be relieved a bit because the inflation figure wasn't that high and within expectation rate.

"It (the inflation number) is not really surprising although slightly above but still manageable.

"For that, US markets also expect the aggressive rate hike may not happen after [the] few days of global sell-down, I think it is now stabilised," he told theedgemarkets.com when contacted.

Wong said the local market remains attractive after the recent sell-down partly due to the global development as well as the impending corporate earnings season.

"The upbeat corporate performance should bring the share price to be better because global growth continues," he explained, adding that any positive and negative news would also drive the market up and down.

A total of 1.11 billion shares worth RM1.07 billion changed hands. There were 544 gainers versus 213 decliners, while 354 counters closed unchanged.

Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.47% and South Korea's Kospi increased 1.11% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.97%.

Reuters reported that Japan's Nikkei share average rose significantly on Thursday morning as investors bought back recently-battered stocks after US markets climbed overnight, shrugging off stronger-than-expected inflation data.

All sectors but utility were in positive territory, with financial stocks and exporters outperforming, downplaying a strong yen trend.