KLCI gains after Fed maintains low rate policy

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 19): The FBM KLCI has continued its winning streak, having gained 11.56 points or 0.64%, after US Federal Reserve indicated low interest rates will remain for a little longer.

In line with regional indices, Malaysia’s benchmark index rose to an intraday high of 1,815.71 points, before settling at 1,809.13 points at 5pm.

Chief executive officer of Areca Capital Sdn Bhd Danny Wong said, “After yesterday’s Federal Reserve meeting, there is no clear indication when it will raise its interest rate policy, but it is clear that there is no rush to do it.”

“Even if it does increase interest rate, the message from Janet Yellen yesterday, is that the change will be gradual.”

He added, “With that message, emerging markets are hoping foreign funds which have been on the selling side, would return. The FBM KLCI’s performance today is reflective of that hope.”

On the Malaysian front, Wong said he expects the KLCI to be trading sideways in the near term, citing investors’ caution over a possible re-rating of Malaysia’s credit rating by Fitch as the main reason.

Today’s trading saw 476 gainers, 336 losers and 327 unchanged counters.

Top gainers are Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd which rose 2.44% (up 48 sen), PPB Group Bhd which advanced 2.28% (up 30 sen), and Petronas Gas Bhd which was up 1.31% (up 30 sen).

On the other hand, United Plantations Bhd fell 2.5% (down 66 sen), Hong Leong Capital Bhd lost 4.81% (down 52 sen), and Atlan Holdings Bhd declined 5% (down 25 sen).

The most actively-traded stock was The Media Shoppe Bhd, with over 129.5 million shares traded. It closed unchanged at 6.5 sen.

Regionally, Japan’s Nikkei was lower by 0.35%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up by 1.45%, and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.47%.