Malaysian market closes at 13-week high, tracking regional gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 27): Malaysia's stock market closed higher today, tracking gains seen in the regional equity markets after the S&P 500 closed at a record high last Friday.

The FBM KLCI ended the day up 3.01 points or 0.17% to its 13-week high of 1,811.60 points.

Reuters reported that Japanese stocks followed gains in US shares, with all but the mining, shipping and airline sectors in positive territory. Exporters such as automotive makers and technology companies led the gains.

This was after US Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman Jerome Powell commented that the Fed's gradual and slow pace of policy tightening will continue amid a stronger US economy.

On Bursa Malaysia, decliners led gainers by 572 to 376 with 374 counters traded unchanged. About 2.75 billion shares worth RM2.02 billion were traded in the open market.

According to Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd head of research Kenny Yee, the momentum seen in the KLCI remains as the rally in the US stock market continues after Powell's comments that the gradual pace of rate hikes will continue.

"Market has [responded] positively to the comment by the US Fed as seen by the improvement in the equity market in the region. China's move to stabilise the yuan also help to spur the equity market in the region," Yee said.

He, however, noted that the decliners still outnumbered gainers as there are still concerns over some of the uncertainties on the external front.

Having said that, Yee believes the right strategy is to buy companies with strong fundamentals on the dip as a recovery is in sight, given the strong economic growth seen globally.

Last Friday, Beijing said it was adjusting its methodology for fixing the yuan's daily midpoint in order to keep the currency market stable amid broad dollar strength and ongoing trade tension between the US and China.

Across the region, Japan's Nikkei 225 was up by 0.88% or 197.87 points to 22,799.64 points. China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite was also higher by 1.89% or 51.47 points to 2,780.90 points. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also surged by 2.17% or 599.40 points to 28,271.27 points.