KLCI steadies as select blue chips lift

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 25): The FBM KLCI steadied at mid-morning today as select index-linked blue chips rose, and oil and gas stocks climbed on the back of firmer crude oil prices.

According to Reuters, oil prices on Thursday hit their highest since December, 2014, pushed up after U.S. crude inventories posted a 10th straight week of declines and as the dollar continued to weaken.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was up 1.36 points to 1,838.40.

Gainers led losers by 270 to 259, while 349 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 811.81 million shares valued at RM404.14 million.

The gainers included Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Tong Herr Resources Bhd, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and AirAsia Bhd.

The actives included P.A. Resources Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd, UMW Oil & Gas Corp Bhd, NetX Holdings Bhd, Sino Hua-An International Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd, Dagang NeXChange Bhd and Genting Malaysia Bhd.

The decliners included Zhulian Corp Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, JHM Consolidation Bhd and UMW Holdings Bhd.

Asian stocks held near a record high on Thursday though concerns about the Trump administration's protectionist stance cast a shadow on financial markets, while the dollar was under pressure after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin welcomed a weaker currency, according to Reuters.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.15 percent while Japan's Nikkei fell 0.8 percent, hit by the dollar's decline against the yen, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research in a traders’ brief said that in the US, market rally has been trending upward without significant pullback and traders are likely to stay cautious in the event of any unpleasant news surfaces in the market that could warrant an extension of selling pressure.

“The Dow's resistance is located near 26,500-27,000.

“On the local bourse, investors could be on a wait-and-see mode ahead of the reporting season to reassess their portfolio.

“However, we still hold on to our view in 1Q18, which could be favourable towards consumer, construction and selected O&G stocks on the back of firmer ringgit and GE14 thematic trading ideas,” it said.