KLCI cuts gains after rising on Malaysia election cue

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 20): The FBM KLCI rose 4.21 points or 0.2% as Bursa Malaysia's volume climbed to 6.02 billion shares amid Malaysia's early general election cue and as investors anticipated a more moderate pace of US interest rate hikes this year.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,749.41 points after rising to its intraday high at 1,755.26 points.

"There were some profit-taking activities after the KLCI hit its intraday-high of 1,755.26 today. I think the general election rally has already begun.

"The trading volume on the bourse has surged in the past one or two weeks," Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com.

Malaysia must hold its 14th general election (GE14) by August 24, 2018 although there has been speculation the poll could be take place in 2017. Malaysia held its GE13 on May 5, 2013.

Today, investors could have also continued to evaluate the prospect of a slower pace in US interest rate hikes. A slower rate hike pace bodes well for Asian markets on expectation of demand for higher-yielding assets in the region.

Last Wednesday, the US raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to between 0.75% and 1%. Malaysia's overnight policy rate stands at 3%.

At Bursa Malaysia today, 6.02 billion shares valued at RM3.02 billion changed hands. The bourse saw 546 advancers versus 421 decliners.

Last Friday, Bursa Malaysia's volume stood at 4.98 billion shares. In August 2014, the bourse registered its all-time high volume at 7.67 billion shares.