KLCI ends 0.4% up ahead of Bank Negara OPR decision

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11): The FBM KLCI finished up 6.45 points or 0.4% today at its intraday high amid ebbing US-China trade war concerns and as investors looked ahead to Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) interest rate decision tomorrow.

At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,602.3, mainly on Petronas Dagangan Bhd's share price spike in the final trading minutes. Petronas Dagangan ended up RM1.68 or 7.57% at RM23.88 to become Bursa Malaysia's top gainer.

"As it is, sentiments on global indices are calmer as the US-China trade war is showing some signs of ebbing that is also giving some leeway for equities to head higher," Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd wrote in a note today.

Across Bursa, turnover stood at 2.33 billion shares worth RM1.78 billion. Top gainers included Magni-Tech Industries Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.

Metronic Global Bhd topped Bursa’s most-active list with 157.26 million shares traded. The stock closed down 1.5 sen or 21.43% at 5.5 sen.

Globally, Reuters reported that bond yields climbed and stock markets held firm on Wednesday, as hopes of easing US-China tensions and diminished risk of a no-deal Brexit prompted buying of out-of-favour value stocks before key central bank meetings. It was reported that oil prices also firmed, underpinned by a big drop in US crude stockpiles, after slipping the previous day.

It was reported that China announced exemptions for 16 types of US products from additional retaliatory duties, in a move that comes as trade negotiators from the two countries prepare to meet later this month to try and de-escalate their protracted tariff row. The exemptions will apply to US goods including some anti-cancer drugs and lubricants, as well as animal feed such as whey and fish meal, Reuters quoted the Ministry of Finance as saying in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

BNM's interest rate decision tomorrow will also be closely watched. Reuters, citing its poll, reported that BNM is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a policy review on Thursday, as it keeps room for potential easing later should global growth fall sharply.

"Nine out of 11 economists polled saw BNM keeping its overnight policy rate (OPR) at 3%, after the country reported stronger-than-expected second quarter growth and a recovery in exports. The other two in the poll expect the central bank to cut its key rate by 25 basis points to 2.75%," Reuters said.