KLCI advances 0.78%, ringgit halts slide

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 8): The FBM KLCI gained 0.78% at the midday break on Thursday as sentiment across global markets improved.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI rose 13.59 points to 1,722.77. It had earlier risen to a high of 1,724.65.

Market breadth turned positive with 464 gainers and 182 losers, while 247 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 837.44 million shares valued at RM770.82 million.

The ringgit strengthened 0.33% versus the greenback and was quoted at 3.5700 per US dollar.

The top gainers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, My E.G. Services Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, MISC Bhd, Inari Amertron Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.

The actives included Minetech Resources Bhd, Hubline Bhd, Masterskill Education Group Bhd, Malayan United Industries Bhd, Sumatec Resources Bhd and Iris Corporation Bhd.

The decliners included Hong Leong Capital Bhd, Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd, Subur Tiasa Holdings Bhd, Ta Ann Holdings Bhd, Faber Group Bhd and Karex Bhd.

Asian stocks gained on Thursday after upbeat U.S. employment data and a halt to a slide in oil tempered investor risk aversion, while the euro held near a nine-year low, according to Reuters.

Hopes that the European Central Bank will embark upon bolder stimulus after data showing the euro zone had slipped into deflation also shored up risk assets, hit this week by concerns over tumbling oil prices and global economic weakness, it said.

Tokyo's Nikkei outperformed its regional peers and gained 1.7 percent, said Reuters.

AffinHwang Capital Research said putting aside all short and medium term market sentiments and short term fluctuation, it sees market participants as picking up a handful of quality stocks which had recently undergone correction and started to consolidate at an attractive fundamental valuation levels.

“When combined with technical analysis, we note that for the long term horizon, stocks in Bursa Malaysia are still in the long term bullish market.

“As such, recent correction is simply 'a normal pullback in a long term bull market', hence, long term investors should take this opportunity to accumulate more quality stocks. Stocks in the banking, plantation, oil and gas may offer excellent return in the long run,” it said.

Meanwhile, the research house expects the ringgit to consolidate around RM3.50-RM3.60 range versus the US dollar given the volatile outlook of crude oil prices in the short term.