KLCI jumps 35.56pts, ringgit strengthens on US shares, crude oil

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4): The FBM KLCI jumped 35.56 points or 2% following overnight gains in US shares, and crude oil prices. The KLCI resumed trading today after the local market was closed for holidays last Monday and yesterday.

Today, the KLCI was traded at 1,816.82 at 9:11am on gains in oil and gas (O&G), besides plantation shares. These included Petronas Gas Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd.

"The local stock market should rebound in this holiday shortened three-day week, boosted by overnight rally on Wall Street encouraged by reduced Eurozone worries over Greece's loan agreements, and after crude oil prices staged a three-day rally helped by capex cuts by oil majors.

"Hence, blue chips should bounce back this week, while small cap and penny stocks could attract more retail participation as robust trading momentum returns," TA Securities Holdings Bhd said in a note today.

The KLCI had tracked Asian market gains. Japan's Nikkei added 1.96% while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.46%.

Last Friday, the KLCI closed lower at 1,781.26 points.

Today, Bursa Malaysia saw some 328 million shares worth RM254 million changed hands. There were 333 gainers versus 85 decliners.

The top gainer was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd while the leading decliner was TAHPS Group Bhd. The most-active stock was Sumatec Resources Bhd, an O&G entity.

The stronger ringgit was also closely watched. The ringgit strengthened against the US dollar at 3.5600, and compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit changed hands at 2.6500.
 
The ringgit's strength could have been underpinned by higher prices of crude oil, which constitutes a major portion of the Malaysian economy.  

Reuters reported that oil prices were holding hefty gains in Asia on Wednesday having rallied 19 percent in just four sessions, while the U.S. dollar nursed big losses as a revival in risk appetite swept through crowded trading positions.

A jump in global commodity prices also helped ease deflationary fears, boosting equities and shoving sovereign bond yields up from generational lows.