KLCI closes up 0.8% on bargain hunting, tracking regional gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 18): Malaysian stocks closed 13.86 points or 0.8% higher today on bargain hunting activities, tracking some of the gains in Asian markets.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI closed at 1,667.57 points, lifted by stocks such as RHB Bank Bhd, AMMB Holdings Bhd, YTL Corp Bhd and Genting Bhd.

Reuters reported that Asian shares extended gains on Tuesday, pulled higher by financials and a rebound in oil prices.

Despite the bounce in risk-sensitive assets in Asia, volumes were light with markets hugging well-worn trading ranges. Investors are now awaiting China data due this week, including the September quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday, after last week's trade figures raised concerns about the health of the world's second-biggest economy.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.55%, South Korea's Kospi gained 0.63% and Nikkei 225 climbed 0.38%.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com the benckmark KLCI rebounded after closing lower for four consecutive trading days as bargain hunting activities kick in.

"The trading volume today is still thin compared with the three-month average of 1.6 billion. The KLCI is mainly lifted by the banking sector as the ringgit trades firmer against the US dollar and crude oil prices move higher today," he said via telephone.

The ringgit strengthened to 4.1925 against the greenback, while Brent crude rose 0.76% to US$50.32 (RM210.97) per barrel at the time of writing.

Moving forward, Leong expects the KLCI to move sideways between 1,650 and 1,670 points this week, pending the announcement of Budget 2017 this Friday.

Bursa Malaysia saw 467 advancers versus 319 decliners, while 391 counters traded unchanged. A total of 1.57 billion shares valued at RM1.88 billion changed hands.

Top gainer was KESM Industries Bhd, while Heineken Malaysia Bhd was the top loser. AT Systematization Bhd was the most-actively traded counter for a second consecutive day, with 118.11 million shares traded today.