KLCI bucks regional fall, ends day in positive zone

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30): The FBM KLCI closed 0.14% higher after struggling to keep afloat throughout most of the day, bucking the regional downward trend, kept afloat by gains in several banking stocks.

At 5pm, the benchmark index closed up 2.21 points or 0.14% at 1,580 points. The index opened higher but had proceeded to dip into the red around mid-morning, before returning to positive territory near closing.

The upward trend was supported by gains in banking counters, such as Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG), CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Public Bank Bhd.

In a note, Hong Leong Investment Bank analyst Loui Low Ley Yee said the KLCI could see some profit-taking activities in the near term.

"Following the breather on Wall Street, we believe this could also attract profit-taking activities over the near term," he said.

Low added that investors and traders may be staying on the sidelines ahead of the upcoming November reporting season month.

Bursa Malaysia saw some 2.26 billion shares traded, worth RM1.7 billion. Market breadth remained negative with 399 decliners against 314 gainers, while 501 counters remain unchanged.

The gainers were led by HLFG, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, PPB Group Bhd, while the decliners were led by Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.57%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.44%, while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.59%.

Reuters reported that Asian share markets slipped on Wednesday, as the prospect of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve was countered by worries a Sino-US first-stage trade deal could be delayed.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.33% from Tuesday's three-month high, it said.