FBM KLCI up 21.99 points on Astro as banking, O&G stocks rise

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 6): The FBM KLCI gained 21.99 points or 1.25% with Asian stock markets and as higher crude oil prices supported shares of Malaysia oil and gas (O&G) counters.

Gains in KLCI-linked Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd besides KLCI-linked banking stocks like Public Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd also suported KLCI's rise.

At 5pm, the KLCI finished at 1,777.13 points after reaching its intraday high at 1,778.47 points. At 5pm, Astro closed 23 sen higher at RM1.83, Public Bank rose 98 sen to RM25 while Hong Leong Financial added 62 sen to RM19.82.    

“Investors are bargain hunting for opportunities out there in the market. Also, there is not much of negative news that could spook investors, and all the negatives have been priced in,” Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Loui Low Ley Yee told theedgemarkets.com today.

“Investors are taking an interest in the penny stocks, and foreign funds have been selling less in the market. They sold about RM80 million yesterday,” he said.

Across Asian share markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.38% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.53%. South Korean markets were closed today for the Memorial Day holiday.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks rose on Wednesday after tech sector strength lifted Wall Street shares while concerns about Italy's debt prompted investors to move into lower-risk government debt elsewhere, pushing US Treasury yields down from recent highs.

On crude oil markets, it was reported that Brent crude futures rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday after Venezuela raised the prospect of halting some crude oil exports, according to people familiar with the matter, but gains were capped amid reports the US government had asked Saudi Arabia and some other OPEC producers to increase output.

It was reported that Brent crude rose 78 cents to US$76.16 a barrel by 0645 GMT after dropping to its lowest since May 8 on Tuesday. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 33 cents at US$65.85 a barrel, having touched a near two-month low on Tuesday.

Such sentiment supported gains across Bursa Malaysia-listed O&G counters including Petronas Gas Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd.

Sapura Energy was the most-actively traded counter with some 393 million shares exchanging hands. The stock rose seven sen to 65 sen.