FBM KLCI rises as CPO gains, ringgit strengthens

FBM KLCI rises as CPO gains, ringgit strengthens
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 30): The FBM KLCI closed 5.06 points or 0.31% higher today, led by Tenaga Nasional Bhd and as Bursa Malaysia plantation shares rose with crude palm oil (CPO) prices.

The ringgit strengthened against a weaker US dollar and as crude oil prices rose. At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,615.67, led by Tenaga shares' 28 sen or 2.11% gain at RM13.54.

Meanwhile, plantation shares including KLCI components Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK) and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, finished up as CPO prices stayed above RM3,000 a tonne.

KLK finished up 30 sen or 1.21% at RM25.10, while Sime Darby Plantation was up 10 sen or 1.83% at RM5.56.

Bloomberg reported CPO advanced to trade near its highest in almost three years, with firmer petroleum and soyoil underpinning the market. At Bursa, palm oil for March 2020 was traded up 0.4% at RM3,084 a tonne at 3:08pm, Bloomberg said.

On the KLCI at 5pm, Public Investment Bank Bhd technical analyst Lee Siao Ping told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI showed a "bullish turnaround", after rising above the 1,610 resistance level.

"Should the benchmark index remain above the 1,610 level in a short term, it will have a higher tendency to go higher. Support can be found at 1,600 and 1,580. Conversely, resistance can be identified at 1,622 and 1,636,” he said.

Across Bursa, turnover stood at 2.34 billion shares, worth RM1.64 billion. Top gainers include KLK, Sarawak Oil Palms Bhd and IJM Plantations Bhd.

In currency markets, the ringgit strengthened to 4.1070 against the US dollar at the time of writing, amid higher crude oil prices. The ringgit tracks crude oil prices due to Malaysia being a net exporter of the commodity.

Reuters reported global benchmark Brent crude was up 0.31% at US$68.37 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.13% to US$61.80, reversing an earlier decline.

"A broad gauge of Asian share markets rose to an 18-month high on Monday as Chinese equities gained, while oil touched three-month highs on a combination of U.S. crude inventory drawdowns, trade optimism and unrest in the Middle East," Reuters said.