FBM KLCI ends Friday trading stronger as global sentiment strengthens

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 17): The FBM KLCI closed in the positive territory today, as investor sentiment globally was buoyed after the release of Chinese growth data which suggest improvements in Chinese business confidence, amid the easing of US-China trade tensions.

The benchmark index settled 7.93 points or 0.5% higher at 1,595.81 at the end of trading hours, with 2.84 billion shares traded for RM2.26 billion.

The rise was supported by Petronas Dagangan Bhd, which rose RM1.34 or 5.97% to close at RM23.80; Axiata Group Bhd, which climbed 24 sen or 5.5% to RM4.60; and Sime Darby Bhd, which gained four sen or 1.8% to RM2.26.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd research vice president Vincent Lau said the signing of the US-China trade agreement and the recent easing of tensions in the Middle East have eased sentiments globally, which has reflected positively on Asian shares.

"Yes, the Chinese data also boosted sentiment, which should support growth for the KLCI given that it is still below the 1,600 level," he told theedgemarkets.com.

According to Reuters, the MSCI world equity index hit a new record high after rising 0.2%, as Chinese growth came in at 6% between October and December and 6% for the whole of last year, which suggested that the country's growth was stabilising.

The data also reinforced signs of an improvement in Chinese business confidence after the US and China signed an initial deal on Wednesday, and fired hopes for a revival in global growth and demand, the news agency wrote.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.4%, it added, as shares in Australia and South Korea gained, while Japan's Nikkei reached its highest in 15 months.