KLCI back in the black as investors go bargain hunting for blue chips

KLCI back in the black as investors go bargain hunting for blue chips
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 22): The benchmark FBM KLCI ended the trading hours today 0.87% or 14.17 points higher and closed at its intra-day peak of 1,643.26 points, tracking gains in key regional and the US markets after oil prices saw a slight rebound, although the gains were capped by a rather cautious mood ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The market was supported by stocks that have shared market-moving announcements like Axiata Group Bhd, and some bargain hunting of oil and gas stocks, as well as banking stocks, which had fallen sharp lately.

The market breadth across the bourse was largely positive as gainers overtook losers by 470 to 353, while 338 counters traded unchanged. A total of 1.62 billion shares were traded, valued at RM1.58 billion.

Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd and PIE Industrial Bhd were among the top two gainers, while SMTrack Bhd was the most actively traded stock.

Axiata was the biggest gainer among KLCI constituent stocks today, while other actively traded gainers from the constituent ranks included Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, IHH Healthcare Bhd and AMMB Holdings Bhd.

KAF Investment Funds Bhd fund manager Gan Kong Yik said the stock market today was mainly underpinned by good news of particular stocks, while others were generally range-bound.

He projected that the market would stay range-bound around 1,650 points for the remainder of the year, as investors turn cautious amid the holiday season after oil prices hit a fresh 11-year low on Monday.

"I think most funds are not going to do much beyond this year. Certain stocks may get some 'window dressing', but I don't think it will have much effect on the overall market," Gan told theedgermarkets.com.

He added that funds tend to maintain their year-end positions to avoid jeopardising their portfolios now.

Regionally, Asian equity markets generally registered marginal gains of less than 1% on Tuesday, after the US Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index gained 0.72% and 0.78% respectively, to end at 17,251.62 and 2,021.15 respectively, on Monday.

According to Reuters, oil prices edged away from multi-year lows today; Brent futures were at US$36.68 per barrel at 5pm, as the northern hemisphere moves into the peak-demand winter season.

(Note: The Edge Research's fundamental score reflects a company's profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)