FBM KLCI up, led by Petronas counters

FBM KLCI up, led by Petronas counters
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22): The FBM KLCI closed 4.65 points or 0.29% higher today, led by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas)-related counters and as investors bargain hunted for beaten-down Malaysian shares amid US-China trade concerns.

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,596.84 on bargain hunting after falling to its intraday low at 1,589.25. Yesterday, the KLCI closed 8.95 points or 0.56% lower as a fresh US-China row on Hong Kong threatened to delay a much-anticipated US-China trade deal. Such sentiment led to weakness across Asian stock markets.

Today, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice president of research Vincent Lau told theedgemarkets.com that KLCI's rebound was due to bargain hunting, particularly in Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd and Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd.

Among the KLCI's 30 stocks, the leading percentage gainer was Petronas Dagangan after its share price closed 52 sen or 2.21% higher at RM24.10 followed by Petronas Gas and Petronas Chemicals. Petronas Gas rose 26 sen or 1.61% to RM16.40 while Petronas Chemicals added 10 sen or 1.43% to RM7.11.

Globally, US-China trade concerns will dictate the direction of the KLCI, according to Lau. “The direction of the KLCI will be affected by the outcome of the Sino-US trade talks,” he said.

Across Bursa Malaysia, the exchange saw 2.56 billion shares worth RM1.995 billion traded. Top gainers included Petronas Dagangan, Petronas Gas and IGB Bhd.

The most active stock was Bumi Armada Bhd with some 138 million shares traded. Bumi Armada closed down one sen or 1.94% at 50.5 sen after rising to its intraday high at 53 sen.

US-China trade concerns curbed Asian share gains. Reuters reported that a broad gauge of Asian equities made a slight recovery on Friday from three-week lows hit the previous day, with gains limited by investors' uncertainty over chances of China and the US striking a preliminary deal soon to end their trade war.

It was reported that markets showed little reaction to President Xi Jinping's reiteration on Friday that China wants to work out an initial trade agreement with the US and has been trying to avoid a trade war, but it is not afraid to retaliate when necessary.

"On Friday afternoon, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2%. The index had dropped as much as 1.4% on Thursday, taking it to its lowest level since Oct 30, on worries that US legislation on Hong Kong threatened to undermine trade talks between the world's two largest economies.

"Those concerns linger, with US President Donald Trump expected to sign into law two Bills backing protesters in Hong Kong after the US House of Representatives voted 417 to 1 for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which the Senate had passed unanimously a day earlier," Reuters said.