FBM KLCI up 0.62% at intraday high ahead of US rate decision

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 18): The FBM KLCI closed up 10.4 points or 0.62% today at its intraday high amid speculation of a dovish US interest rate stance ahead of the  Federal Reserve Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 19 and 20).

Today, the KLCI finished at 1,690.94. Across Bursa Malaysia, 3.26 billion shares worth RM1.92 billion were transacted. Bursa Malaysia's top gainer was Tenaga Nasional Bhd followed by Petronas Dagangan Bhd and Maxis Bhd.

The Malaysian stock market trend was in line with gains across Asian markets amid dovish US interest rate sentiment. Reuters reported that there is much talk that Fed policymakers will lower their interest rate forecasts, or "dot plots", to show little or no further tightening this year.

In Malaysia, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that "gains in the local stock market were mainly due to the regional bourses, which were largely positive".

Leong said investors took cue from external factors such as strong gains in US shares on Friday, optimism on China-US trade talks and expectation of dovish US interest rate stance.

In China today, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite closed up 2.47% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.37%. Elsewhere across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.62% while South Korea's Kospi was 0.16% higher