KUALA LUMPUR (April 4): The FBM KLCI rose 14.69 points or 0.9% on foreign buying as the ringgit strengthened.
At 5pm, the FBM KLCI closed at 1,725.24 points, supported by gains in stocks like British American Tobacco (M) Bhd (BAT), Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
BAT was Bursa Malaysia's top gainer while Maybank was the 10th-largest riser. Maybank Investment Bank Bhd regional chartist Lee Cheng Hooi said the FBM KLCI's rise was supported by foreign buying in blue chips.
"I cannot tell why they are buying in Malaysia, but I suppose they deem Malaysia as relatively price-defensive. Bursa statistics show that they have been net buyers of Malaysian stocks in March 2016.
"They are also in the region on anticipation of a stable US interest rate policy and regional yields are still good," Lee told theedgemarkets.com.
The ringgit had earlier strengthened to its firmest intraday point against the US dollar at 3.8595. At the time of writing, the ringgit weakened to 3.9005 against the US dollar.
Across regional share markets, South Korea's Kospi gained 0.27% while Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.25%. China and Hong Kong markets were closed for a holiday.
Reuters reported that Asian share prices held firm on Monday after solid US payroll data underpinned investor risk sentiment while last week's dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen kept the US dollar in check.
At Bursa Malaysia, the exchange saw 1.5 billion shares worth RM1.73 billion traded. Gainers beat decliners at 460 against 335.
Top decliner was Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd. Vivocom International Holdings Bhd was the most-actively traded stock.