KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 20): The FBM KLCI jumped 19.62 points or 1.15% on positive sentiment following gains on Wall Street overnight and news of a potential revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.
The index closed at a four-month high of 1,726.18 after hitting an intraday high of 1,727.25. This is the third consecutive day of gains for the KLCI.
Inter Pacific Securities research head Pong Teng Siew told theedgemarkets.com that local funds were reacting to news that Malaysia and China could come close to an agreement in the reinstatement of the ECRL project, which immediately drew attention back to the construction sector.
Bursa Malaysia's construction index grew 6.74 points or 3.68% to 189.93, making it the top gainer in percentage terms among the bourse's indices.
"This is probably driven by the development that Malaysia and China would come to some kind of agreement which will be a big boost to the construction sector," said Pong.
Among the KLCI component stocks, Axiata Group Bhd was the top gainer, followed by Genting Bhd.
Axiata closed 20 sen or 4.87% higher at RM4.31, while Genting rose 31 sen or 4.31% to RM7.50.
Total turnover on Bursa was 3.82 billion shares worth RM3.27 billion. Gainers led losers by 724 to 252, while 346 counters remained unchanged.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 grew 0.6%, South Korea's Kospi rose 1.09% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.01%.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks advanced to 4½-month highs today as investors bet that Chinese and US trade negotiators would be able to secure a deal to de-escalate their year-long tariff war.
The newswire noted US President Donald Trump's remarks yesterday that trade talks with China were going well and suggested he was open to pushing off the March 1 deadline to complete negotiations.
US tariffs on US$200 billion (RM813.86 billion) worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to rise to 25% from 10% if no trade deal is reached by March 1.