KLCI ends above 1,400 as Covid-19 treatment trial results spur optimism

KLCI ends above 1,400 as Covid-19 treatment trial results spur optimism
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 30): The FBM KLCI closed up 27.48 points or 1.99% at 1,407.78 today after broad-based buying lifted share prices across Bursa Malaysia as global investors cheered encouraging early results of a Covid-19 treatment trial.

In Malaysia, analysts and remisiers said, local shares also appeared to take their cue from International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s statement on Tuesday that realising the urgent need to tackle the current economic crisis, the government had agreed that the economic sectors that were allowed to operate during phases one, two and three of the movement control order (MCO) period be allowed to raise their operational capacity to the fullest and operate without time limits effective yesterday. 

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd remisier Jeffry Azizi Jaafar told theedgemarkets.com: "More businesses have been allowed to operate at full capacity, which creates a positive perception that the MCO relaxation will help boost the slow economy. This measure particularly has a postive impact on technology and semiconductor companies as they get the green light to operate at full capacity and extra hours.”

Across Bursa, turnover stood at 5.852 billion shares valued at RM3.346 billion. Gainers outpaced decliners by 629 to 298 as oil and gas related shares ended higher on crude oil prices.

Top active stocks included Sapura Energy Bhd and Bumi Armada Bhd. Bursa’s energy index, which tracks oil and gas related shares, closed up 35.86 points or 5.42% at 687.98. 

Across Bursa, top gainers included KLCI stocks Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd.

Global equity and crude oil prices rose. It was reported that Asian stocks rose to a seven-week high today, though bonds and currencies stuck to cautious ranges ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the day. Optimism in equity markets was driven by positive partial results of a trial of Gilead's antiviral remdesivir, which showed the drug could help speed recovery from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Oil prices jumped today, extending steep gains in the previous session on signs the US crude glut was not growing as quickly as expected and that gasoline demand battered by Covid-19 restrictions was starting to pick up. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed to a high of US$17.35 (RM74.60) a barrel and were up 14.3%, or US$2.15, at US$17.21 at 0350 GMT. The US benchmark surged 22% yesterday. Brent crude rose 10.3%, or US$2.33, to US$24.87 a barrel in light trading, with the June contract expiring today. The contract hit a high of US$24.91 earlier in the session, having posted a 10% gain yesterday, Reuters reported.

Malaysian markets will be closed for the Labour Day holiday tomorrow. Trading resumes on Monday.