FBM KLCI pares gain amid cautious Asian markets

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 15): The FBM KLCI settled 0.21 point higher after paring gains against a decline in the Asian stock markets. Asian shares fell after the US reported weaker retail sales numbers and following a White House statement that US President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency to try to obtain funds for his promised US-Mexico border wall.

At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI settled at 1,689.27 at 12:30pm after rising to its highest so far today at 1,693.85.

"Overall, the bearish bias that started from the Jan 29's 'Bearish Engulfing' formation is still firmly in place — and rationalises our short bias," RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd said in a note today.

At Bursa Malaysia, top gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and Dialog Group Bhd. Leading decliners included IHH Healthcare Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.

Across Asia, Reuters reported that Asian stocks fell on Friday after weak US retail sales figures raised fresh doubts about the strength of the world's largest economy, offsetting optimism towards trade talks between the United States and China.

It was reported that US retail sales tumbled 1.2% in December, recording their biggest drop since September 2009 as receipts fell across the board.