KLCI up 0.3% as Asian markets track Wall Street's gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24): The FBM KLCI inched up 5.45 points or 0.3% to close higher today, in line with modest gains in regional markets taking their cue from Wall Street following a spate of upbeat earnings reports.

At 5pm, the benchmark index finished at 1,693.59 points. Top gainers among component stocks were Hartalega Holdings Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, up 2.2% and 2% respectively, while decliners included lawsuit-besieged Genting Malaysia Bhd.

Across the local bourse, a total of 2.44 billion shares worth RM2.12 billion were transacted. Market breadth was positive as gainers outstripped decliners at 458 versus 375, while 346 counters closed unchanged.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com the gains seen in the market today were because of the positive close in most regional bourses. He observed that foreign funds were seen to be accumulating Malaysian equities over the past one and a half week.

"The FBM KLCI recovered some of its previous session losses today, boosted by the positive developments on Wall Street overnight after a string of strong corporate earnings from International Business Machines (IBM), Procter & Gamble (P&G) and United Technologies.

"Up until yesterday (Jan 23), foreign funds are in the net buying position of RM611.7 million," he added.

Today, Asian shares inched up in subdued trade after Wall Street ended higher, but political uncertainty in the US and worries about weakening global economic growth kept many investors on the sidelines, Reuters reported.

In China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index rose 0.4% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.4%, while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8%.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.1% lower and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index fell 0.4%.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.7% higher.