KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 19): The FBM KLCI closed in a positive territory for the first time after three straight sessions of losses, lifted by healthcare stocks, which saw a boost amidst rising Covid-19 cases.
The benchmark index ended 14.27 points or 0.99% higher at 1,518.11, while the broader market saw 722 gainers against 386 losers, on volume of 9.5 billion shares worth RM5.43 billion.
Leading the climb on the index was Hartalega Holdings Bhd, which rose 62 sen or 3.37% to RM19.00, and Top Glove Corp Bhd, which jumped 35 sen or 3.78% higher to RM9.60.
The KLCI showed gains throughout the day, recovering from the dampened sentiment on the back of political uncertainty that has dominated news flow in recent weeks.
"Given renewed bearish momentum flashed by technical indicators for the FBM KLCI after last week's correction, the local market is expected to extend downward correction this week.
"Domestic political uncertainties, resurgent Covid-19 infections and fresh lockdown measures in multiple districts and areas in Selangor, Klang Valley and other states are main factors dampening market sentiment," TA Securities Holdings Bhd analysts wrote in a note today.
Nonetheless, they said the bright spot should continue to be the healthcare sector, with rubber gloves-, personal protective equipment- and vaccine-related stocks seen to benefit from a protracted virus pandemic to attract strong bargain-hunting interest.
The broader market also mostly traded in a positive territory, with the FBM Small Cap rising as much as 2.54%, followed by the Utilities index, rising 2.38%.
Across Asia, markets mostly rose on hopes of a new US coronavirus relief deal before the presidential election, Reuters reported.
Regional markets also shrugged off data from China after it reported a 4.9% economic growth in the third quarter, saying its economic recovery was gaining momentum despite having missed expectations.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.11%, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.22%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.64% but the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.71%.