KLCI adds 0.08% after lingering in the red most of the day

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): The FBM KLCI eked out gains in the last 10 minutes of trading by adding 1.33 points or 0.08% to close at 1,670.99. A weak earnings season and lack of catalysts in Malaysia have prompted investors to adopt a more cautious stance, said analysts.

The local bellwether struggled to get out of the red territory for most of the day.

But by 5pm, gains in blue chips like Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Public Bank Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd helped pushed the composite index back up.

With the US Federal Reserve already confirming that it was not going to raise its interest rates this month, some investors saw this as a chance to lock in gains, said JF Apex Securities Bhd senior analyst Lee Cherng Wee. Compared to last week's close, the KLCI was still up by 18 points or 1.09%.

"There isn't much catalyst in the local market right now. It is fairly valued, and the only possible thing that investors could look forward to is the upcoming budget," Lee told theedgemarkets.com.

Malaysia had a better day than most of the region: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.32%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.39%, and China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index contracted 0.28%, while Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index plummeted 0.5%.

Today's negative performance notwithstanding, Reuters reported that Asian shares held near 14-month highs today as investors restored bets the Federal Reserve is settling into a phase of very gradual interest rate rises, while Japanese bond yields fell after the Bank of Japan's radical new policy scheme.

Back home, a total of 1.89 billion shares valued at RM1.96 billion were traded across Bursa Malaysia today. Gainers rose to 415 at the last minute, versus 364 decliners.

Borneo Oil Bhd and its warrant BORNOIL-WC were the top two most actively traded counters today. Coming in third was Malaysia Building Society Bhd.

Top gainers included Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, United Plantations Bhd and Ajinomoto (M) Bhd. The biggest decliners were British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.