KLCI erases losses as investors stay on sidelines ahead of Budget 2016

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 19): The FBM KLCI ended 1.38 points or 0.08% higher after China reported third quarter economic growth, which was better than expected.

According to Reuters, the world's second-largest economy grew 6.9% between July and September from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said, slightly better than forecasts of a 6.8% rise but down from 7% in the previous three months.

In Malaysia, the KLCI ended at 1,718.2 points at 5pm. The KLCI traded between an intra-day high of 1,727.41 and low of 1,708.31.

Fund managers said investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Budget 2016 announcement this Friday.

Today, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said the "KLCI traded almost flattish despite the better performance at US stock markets last Friday".

"Most investors stayed on the sidelines and waited for the outcome of the Budget 2016," Wong told theedgemarkets.com via telephone.

Bursa Malaysia saw 428 advancers versus 417 decliners while 345 counters were unchanged. A total of 2.57 billion shares valued at RM2.057 billion changed hands.

The top gainer was British American Tobacco (M) Bhd while the leading decliner was Nestle (M) Bhd. Among the most-actively traded counters were MQ Technology Bhd and The Media Shoppe Bhd.

Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 was 0.88% lower while South Korea's Kospi closed unchanged.

In China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.14% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.04%

Reuters reported that Asian shares held two-month highs today as a batch of Chinese data showed the economy slowing while still managing to reassure investors it was not in danger of a hard landing.

Adding to optimism were growing bets that the US Federal Reserve will delay its first rate hike since 2006 to next year, encouraging investors to hunt for bargains in beaten-down Asian equities.

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