KLCI ends week higher in tandem with regional markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 23): Malaysian stocks closed higher today in tandem with most Asian bourses.

The FBM KLCI ended the day 6.43 points or 0.35% higher at 1,861.50. Trading volume also increased to 3.55 billion shares worth RM2.68 billion compared with yesterday's 2.34 billion shares worth RM2.06 billion.

Kenanga Investment Bank analyst Lawrence Yeo told theedgemarkets.com that the local stock market has been experiencing low trading volume throughout the week as investors may still be in holiday mode, and that market breadth was not very strong.

"Other regional markets, like Hong Kong, have been more aggressive in their recovery as opposed to the local market, where investors are more defensive and resilient," he said.

Yeo said he observed a steady buying trend of consumer staple stocks such as Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, as investors take a more defensive approach by buying more stable blue chip stocks.

"Also, throughout the week, I see that the recovery is more apparent in small cap stocks while large and medium cap stocks were mostly trading sideways," he added.

Across Bursa Malaysia, gainers led losers by 531 against 375, while 516 counters closed unchanged.

Among the top gainers were Nestle, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd and Public Bank Bhd, while top losers were Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Ge-Shen Corp Bhd and Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd.

Reuters reported today that Asian shares rebounded as comments from a US Federal Reserve (Fed) official eased worries about faster rate rises in the US.

This, it said, is following wildly fluctuating financial markets around the world this month as investors fretted about how fast the Fed might raise rates in the wake of data showing a pickup in US inflation.

Regionally, Singapore's Straits Times Index picked up 1.28%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Composite Index gained 1.05%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 156.34 points or 0.72% to 21,892.78 points.