KLCI higher, ringgit stronger

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 3): The FBM KLCI rose 4.12 points or 0.23% to close at 1,821.25 on bargain hunting following the index's losses yesterday. Overnight US equity gains also supported sentiment in the Malaysian market.

Today, the KLCI's rise was helped by gains in stocks like Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), Genting Malaysia Bhd and Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. Yesterday, the KLCI fell 4.08 points or 0.22%.

Areca Capital CEO Danny Wong said "the market is still lacking catalyst. Hence, it is likely to hover  at current levels for the next few days should there be no major news."

Across Bursa Malaysia, some 2.83 billion shares worth RM2.34 billion changed hands.

Decliners led gainers by 461 to 420 while 282 counters were unchanged.

The top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and United Plantations Bhd.

Actively traded stocks included Privasia Technologies Bhd, Sanichi Technology Bhd and Wintoni Group Resources Bhd.

Major decliners included Ajinomoto (M) Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd.

SapuraKencana, the eighth largest decliner, fell 13 sen or 5% to close at its intraday low of RM2.60. The stock had fallen ahead of SapuraKencana's fourth quarter and full-year financials this month.

The ringgit was also firmer against world currencies amid higher crude oil prices. The ringgit strengthened to 3.6270 against the US dollar and  changed hands at 2.6607 to the Singapore dollar.

Reuters reported that front-month Brent futures were trading up 53 cents at $60.07 a barrel by 0807 GMT, though significantly below the day's high of $60.74. U.S. WTI futures were up 41 cents at $50.01 a barrel.

Oil prices firmed on Tuesday in Asian trading, tracking stronger global equity markets and as the U.S. rig count continued to fall, but analysts warned the market remained oversupplied.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.06% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng retreated 0.74%

However, South Korea's Kospi rose 4.57 0.23%.

According to Reuters, most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday, with Indonesian benchmark extending gains to an all-time high as a weakening rupiah lifted selected shares, but Thai index headed for a third straight fall as PTT traded ex dividend.