KLCI up 1.4% on US rate lift-off

KLCI up 1.4% on US rate lift-off
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 17): The FBM KLCI gained 22.39 points or 1.4%, tracking regional shares following the US Federal Reserve (Fed)'s move to raise interest rates.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,656.52 points. Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.59% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.79% and 0.43% respectively.

"The factor behind the (KLCI's) rise is mainly the US Fed funds rate hike. The region is also up due to the hike. Partially, the local market is up also due to possibly some window-dressing activities here," Maybank Investment Bank Bhd regional chartist Lee Cheng Hooi told theedgemarkets.com.

Reuters reported that the Fed's 25-basis-point increase was almost a decade in the making and easily one of the most telegraphed in history. So there was some relief that, after months of waiting and several false starts, the move was finally done and dusted.

Asian stock markets jumped on Thursday as investors chose to take the historic hike in US interest rates as a mark of confidence in the world's largest economy, lifting the dollar and piling on the pain for oil prices.

In Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.95 billion shares worth RM2.25 billion traded. The bourse's 594 gainers outnumbered the 298 decliners.

British American Tobacco (M) Bhd headed gainers while leading decliners included Ajinomoto (M) Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd. The top active stock was XOX Bhd.

In currency markets, the ringgit erased losses against the US dollar to trade at 4.3130 at 5pm.

The ringgit had earlier today weakened to 4.3380 versus the US dollar on news of the US rate hike.

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