KLCI stages mild rebound as foreign funds return

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 7): Malaysian stocks rebounded into positive territory today as foreign investors make their gradual return to Bursa Malaysia.

The benchmark FBM KLCI opened higher at 1,721.71 points to hit an intraday high of 1,723.40 in early trade, before closing up 0.72 points or 0.04% at 1,719.05. Market breadth was negative with 455 decliners, 388 advancers and 405 counters traded unchanged on Bursa.

Trading volume rose to 1.8 billion shares worth RM2.51 billion compared with Wednesday's 1.58 billion shares worth RM2.26 billion.

Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew said the local stock market eked out a slight gain today as foreign funds gradually made their way back to the market.

"Local investors were also able to see the difference in the gains in index that would be a big boost to their confidence," he told theedgemarkets.com.

Pong said the rebound was mainly driven by the blue-chip counters on the KLCI's constituent list.

"The small-cap stocks may yet see a bullish return like that in the first five months of this year, which was led by technology stocks," he added.

Pong also noted that Sime Darby Plantation Bhd has seen some recovery from losses following the demerger of Sime Darby Bhd from its plantation business, and some activities in technology stocks can be noticed taking cue from the recovery in technology counters in the US.

"The market is generally going through a little bit of an upswing. It is believed that the market is turning around," he added.

Actively traded stocks included Sapura Energy Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and JAG Bhd.

Leading movers were Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, while top losers were United Malacca Bhd, Allianz Malaysia Bhd and Lafarge Malaysia Bhd.

Regional markets were mixed today, with Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index closing 0.3% lower, while Philippine shares closed more than half a percent higher. At close of trade, Vietnam dropped 1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.28% and Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.5%.