KLCI up 7.28pts on late buying; ringgit strengthens

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 7): The FBM KLCI rose 7.28 points or 0.4% to close at its intraday high as the ringgit strengthened with crude oil prices.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,724.29 points on late buying of blue chips like Public Bank Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd in the final trading hour. Both stocks ended among Bursa Malaysia's top gainers.

TA Securities Holdings Bhd senior technical analyst Stephen Soo said market sentiment today was positive following the recovery in oil prices.

Brent crude oil futures rose to US$40.09 a barrel while US crude oil was higher at US$37.91.

"The (stock) market has been in profit taking mode for the past few days. Today, the market sentiment seems more upbeat thanks to the recovery in oil prices," Soo told theedgemarkets.com.

Crude oil gains could have also led to the strengthening ringgit as the commodity forms a crucial portion of the Malaysian economy and Government income.

The ringgit strengthened to 3.9158 against the US dollar at 5pm. The intraday range was between 3.8727 and 3.9187.

Malaysian markets might have also taken the cue from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) today.

The PAC report, which includes the Auditor-General's (AG) findings on Government-owned 1MDB, is closely watched by global investors.

1MDB, in response to the PAC and AG findings, said the report had identified weakness in 1MDB's governance and decision-making.

The board of 1MDB decided to offer its resignation to the Minister of Finance Inc following the PAC and AG findings, according to 1MDB.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 1.52 billion shares valued at RM2.16 billion were traded. There were 424 gainers and 380 decliners.

The top decliner was Petronas Gas Bhd while the most-active counter was Malaysian Bulk Carriers Bhd.

Across regional share markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.22% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.29%.

Reuters reported that the yen powered to 17-month peaks on Thursday, trampling Japanese exporter stocks in the process, while a broadly soft dollar gave extra legs to a rally in oil prices.