KUALA LUMPUR (May 15): The FBM KLCI erased losses in the afternoon, tracking Hong Kong share gains on news the planned Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect could begin earlier than anticipated.
Reuters reported that Hong Kong stocks ended 2% higher on Friday, boosted by a sudden surge in afternoon trading on renewed hopes that the cross-border investment scheme between Hong Kong and Shenzhen would soon be announced.
Malaysia's KLCI gained 4.37 points or 0.24% to close at 1,811.92 at 5pm. The index had gained on stocks like British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
The KLCI had risen amid a stronger ringgit after Malaysia reported economic growth of 5.6% in the first quarter (1Q15) from a year earlier.
The ringgit strengthened to 3.5660 against the US dollar and 2.6936 versus the Singapore dollar.
Reuters reported that Malaysia's ringgit hovered near a two-week high as the economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in 1Q15 and its current account surplus almost doubled.
The nation's on-year 1Q15 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.6% compared to the 5.7% expansion in 4Q14.
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd regional chartist Lee Cheng Hooi said the 1Q15 economic growth figure did not have a major impact on Malaysian shares.
“The KLCI is quieter due to slower gross domestic product (GDP) of 5.6% for 1Q15," Lee told theedgemarkets.com over telephone.
M&A Securities research head Rosnani Rasul was more optimistic.
"GDP is better than expected. At 5.6%, it is not a bad start, it is a good start. The sentiment improved or shot up because of that," Rosnani told theedgemarkets.com over telephone.
Across the exchange, 1.75 billion shares worth RM1.85 billion were traded. There were 411 gainers against 358 decliners while 334 counters were unchanged.
Top gainers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and YSP Southeast Asia Holding Bhd while Genting Bhd led decliners.
Malakoff Corp Bhd was the top-active stock, following its listing on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia today.