KLCI up 9.7pts on China shares, Wintoni most active

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KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 18): The FBM KLCI rose 9.7 points or 0.54%, led by China share gains in anticipation that the world's second-largest economy would implement measures to sustain growth.

Reuters reported that Chinese shares, already sitting atop multi-year highs, rallied for a sixth straight day. Soft Chinese data failed to dampen sentiment and instead raised hopes Beijing would make fresh stimulus moves.

In Malaysia, the KLCI ended at 1,797.57 points on gains in stocks like PPB Group Bhd and Genting Bhd. Besides China, analysts said investors were preoccupied with the possible direction US interest rates.

“The theory is that if there is an increase in US interest rate policy, then capital markets here in Malaysia can expect to see an outflow in funds," an analyst said.

The China factor had also resulted in share gains in other Asian markets. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.55% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.91%.

Bursa Malaysia saw 303 gainers, 533 decliners and 288 unchanged counters. A total of 2.13 billion shares valued at RM1.87 billion changed hands.

Top gainers include British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and PPB Group Bhd. Decliners were led by Allianz Malaysia Bhd and Tasek Corp Bhd.

Wintoni Group Bhd, the bourse's most-active stock fell as much as 14.5 sen or 38% on speculation that brokers had placed a trade limit on the stock, according to remisiers.

Wintoni, which designs automation systems, fell to an intraday low of 23.5 sen before paring losses. At 5pm, the stock closed at 28.5 sen with some 157 million shares traded.

“Market talk is that some brokers have put a limitation (on Wintoni's share trade). If clients want to buy the stock they have to put cash upfront, or have collateral.

“They (brokers) have put a restraint on the flow of money into the counter, hence, it could have triggered a selling point today,” a remisier told theedgemarkets.com.

Last Thursday (Mar 12), Bursa Malaysia cautioned investors on the trading dynamics of Wintoni shares. This followed the recent sharp rise in the stock's price. The remisier said Bursa's warning had dented sentiment on Wintoni shares.

Today, the ringgit was also in the limelight after Fitch indicated that it was prepared to downgrade Malaysia’s credit rating. The ringgit weakened to 3.7075 against the US dollar and compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit weakened to 2.6641.

Bloomberg reported that the ringgit fell as Fitch said Malaysia’s credit ranking sits “more naturally” in the BBB range, suggesting a possible downgrade.

The nation is currently rated A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade, and two levels above BBB.