KLCI closes at intra-day high as foreign funds bargain hunt for blue chip stocks

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12): The Malaysian stock market closed higher today, led by blue chip stocks as foreign funds went bargain hunting.

The benchmark FBM KLCI ended the day at an intra-day high of 1,729.57 points, up 10.1 points or 0.59% from yesterday's closing. The index moved between 1,717.32 and 1,729.57 throughout the day.

Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com that he expects the KLCI to continue its rising trend this week.

"The increase today was within our expectation and we are optimistic that it will continue this week, generally due to strong foreign fund inflow, and their focus seems to be around the blue chips," he said.

"The reason for them to be here again was likely to be relative valuation, the same reason they left for Thai market earlier this year in September. Now the Thai market seems to be more expensive than the Malaysian market," Pong added.

Trading volume rose to 2.15 billion shares worth RM2.33 billion compared with Monday's 1.65 billion shares worth RM1.97 billion. Market breadth was positive with 500 gainers versus 372 losers, and 364 counters remained unchanged.

Top gainers included OldTown Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Pentamaster Corp Bhd, while Pos Malaysia Bhd was the second largest loser today after its chief executive officer announced his resignation on Monday.

PUC Bhd was the most actively traded counter today, with 145.02 million shares traded in the open market.

Reuters reported that most Southeast Asian stock markets marked time on Tuesday with investors awaiting the US Federal Reserve's (Fed) policy meeting for cues about the world's largest economy, while Vietnam shares rose up to 1.5% after a sharp drop in the previous session.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates at its two-day policy meeting that will end on Wednesday, which could lead to foreign fund outflows from emerging markets.

In the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.32%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.59%. South Korea's Kospi also dropped 0.42%.