FBM KLCI continues with marginal gains after US Fed maintains interest rates

FBM KLCI continues with marginal gains after US Fed maintains interest rates
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 12): The FBM KLCI saw marginal gains continue today, rising 0.29% or 4.15 points after the US Federal Reserve decided to maintain interest rates.

As of 5pm, the local benchmark index closed 0.29% or 4.15 points higher at 1,567.34 points.

Rakuten Trade Research vice-president Vincent Lau attributes the modest rise in the stock market partly to the decision to keep interest rates steady.

“Another reason could be bargain hunting as well, with today’s performance in line with regional markets,” he told theedgemarkets.com.

Petronas Gas Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd and MISC Bhd lead the index, while laggards included Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), RHB Bank Bhd and IHH Healthcare Bhd.

Across Bursa Malaysia, some 2.49 billion shares worth RM2.12 billion were traded. 381 counters saw gains, 399 counters declined while 456 counters remained unchanged.

Top actives included Eco World Development Group Bhd, Sapura Energy Bhd and Ekovest Bhd. The top gainers were PetGas, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd and PetDag. The top losers were United Plantations Bhd, MAHB and British American Tobacco (M) Bhd.

According to Reuters, most Southeast Asian markets rose after the US Federal Reserve signalled interest rate would remain steady amid positive projections for the US economy, even as the weekend deadline for US tariffs on Chinese goods on Sunday draws closer.

The US’ moderate economic growth and historically low unemployment are expected to continue through next year’s presidential election and interest rates would remain accommodative.

US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers today to discuss the scheduled December 15 tariffs on some US$160 billion worth of Chinese goods, sources told Reuters.

CNBC.com reported that the Fed will be keeping the median rate steady at 1.6% to 2020, but noted that it is set to increase to 1.9% in 2021.

The Shanghai Composite Index posted a decline of 0.30% or 8.72 points at 2,915.70 points. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed marginally higher, registering a 1.31% or 348.71 points to 26,994.14 points.

South Korea’s Kospi also posted a marginal gain of 1.51% or 31.73 points at 2,137.35 points, with the Nikkei 225 in Japan also posting a marginal gain, rising 0.14% or 32.95 points to 23,424.81 points.