KLCI gains 0.08% on Greece debt extension

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 23): The FBM KLCI benefited from positive sentiment in global markets after a long Lunar New Year weekend break, rising after the midday break today. However, it pared its gains at the last minute to close 1.52 points or 0.08% higher at 1,809.39 points.

The local benchmark was consistently in the green territory after resuming trading at 2:30pm to touch an intraday high of 1,812.75 points.

Trading in Bursa Malaysia today was mostly dominated by lower-liners, with the benchmark index constituents barely moving.

However, some of the KLCI component stocks that closed higher were Axiata Group Bhd, Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd and Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.

Analysts said global markets were riding on a high, with some regional markets breaking new records, on the heels of Greece’s ability to keep itself in the loop of the European Union (EU) after the troubled nation had accepted a conditional extension of its bailout programme.

JF Apex Securities senior analyst Lee Cherng Wee told theedgemarkets.com that the good news from the eurozone served as a reprieve for global investors.

“That means Greece may not be exiting the EU because if that’s the case, the whole world will be affected,” he said.

He noted that some markets in Southeast Asia also touched new highs after this development, and thus the KLCI’s higher performance today was mainly due to external factors.

“There is nothing much on the local front that could have boosted the market. I think some investors are probably still on holiday mode (after the Lunar New Year break),” said Lee over the telephone.

A total of 2.45 billion shares worth RM1.82 billion were traded today in the broader market. Gainers edged decliners at 428 and 382 respectively.

Penny stocks, namely Hubline Bhd, The Media Shoppe Bhd and Asia Bioenergy Technologies Bhd, dominated the top actives today.

The biggest gainers were Hong Leong Capital Bhd, LPI Capital Bhd and furniture maker Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd, which continued to chart new highs after reporting a 31.19% rise in its net profit for the first half year of its fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

Among the biggest decliners were British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, United Plantations Bhd and PPB Group Bhd.

Many key Asian markets closed higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.73%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched up by 0.02%, China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.76%, and South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.35%.

However, Singapore’s Straits Times Index closed 0.33% lower today.

Reuters reported Asian shares were flat on Monday as many countries in the region returned from Lunar New Year holidays, with sentiment supported by relief that Greece reached a deal to avert an immediate fiscal crisis.

Eurozone ministers late on Friday agreed to extend Greece's financial rescue package by four months, a shorter extension that the six months the country had sought. Relief over the last-minute deal boosted Wall Street shares to record highs, and was likely to jump-start European markets.