KLCI up 9.41 points as banking, consumer blue chips rise

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): The FBM KLCI gained 9.41 points or 0.5% to close at its intraday peak, lifted mainly by Malaysia banking and consumer blue-chip stocks.

At 5pm, the KLCI finished at 1,865.80 as KLCI-linked banking stocks Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd and Public Bank Bhd besides consumer stock Nestle (M) Bhd rose to close among Bursa Malaysia top gainers.

Hong Leong Financial gained 20 sen to RM19.20 while Public Bank rose 16 sen to RM23.68. Nestle surged RM4.70 to RM132.60. Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com that the climb in the KLCI today was led mainly by substantial gains seen particularly in banking and consumer stocks.

“This is the first day that the KLCI has broken out, but we will need several days of sustained climb above 1,860 points for it to be said to be holding, but that might not be quite the case yet,” said Pong.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended 0.43% lower while South Korea’s Kospi slid 0.02%. Japan markets were closed today for the Vernal Equinox holiday.

Asian markets have been anticipating the US Federal Reserve's latest policy statement later today. Reuters reported that a hush settled over financial markets on Wednesday as investors counted down to a likely hike in US interest rates and guidance on how many more to expect this year, while trade war fears kept export nations' currencies on edge.