KLCI ekes out last minute gains

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 23): The FBM KLCI eked out last minute gains to end higher today, amid lackluster sentiment.

At 5pm, the benchmark index increased 8.18 points or 0.5% to close at 1,818.86 points, thanks to the gains on heavyweights such as Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd.

InterPacific Securities’ remisier Sam Ng told TheEdge Markets.com that the index was rather subdued today, despite the late surge in gains.

“However, looking at the whole week, we see local fund managers coming to support the market, with trades largely on oil & gas counters,” he told over the telephone.

“We think the KLCI will continue to see support next week,” he opined.

Across Bursa Malaysia, some 1.9 billion shares, worth RM1.8 billion, were traded. Market gainers overwhelmed decliners by 625 versus 254, while 251 counters were unchanged.

The top gainer was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, while the leading decliner was Press Metal Bhd’s loan stock, PMetal-LA. The most active counter was Sona Petroleum Bhd’s warrant, Sona-WA.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Investment Bank Research in a note today said the KLCI’s recent relief was likely to “accelerate” towards its short term resistance, near the 1,825-1,834 levels.

But the research house said the “path” will not be smooth, as sentiment could be consistently affected by external headlines.

Analyst Syed Muhammed Kifni of MIDF Research foresees no material local leads to drive the market in either direction.

“Hence, the short-term market swings may continue to be dictated by the vagaries on Wall Street,” he said via email.

The US stock futures tumbled, while safe-haven assets such as the yen and US bonds gained on Friday, after a doctor who returned to New York City from West Africa tested positive for Ebola, according to Reuters.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.1%, though Japan's Nikkei share average bucked the trend rising 1%, led by gains in drug companies.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.31%, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.01%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 0.33% lower, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index also shed 0.43%.