KLCI extends gains on Fitch upgrade; ringgit weakens

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 2): The FBM KLCI gained 5.92 points or 0.3% to finish at 1,733.88, on optimism after Fitch Ratings upgraded Malaysia's debt outlook. Fund managers said Malaysian shares had also tracked Asian equity gains.

Across the region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.95%, South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.45%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.12% higher.

Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Bhd's head of research Chris Eng said, "the increase in KLCI points today was in line with other Asian markets, and was also a follow-on effect from yesterday’s positive newsflow, following a non-downgrade for Malaysia’s credit rating by Fitch."

“The non downgrade by Fitch was a welcome relief for investors, as evidenced by the performance of the stock market today, and some of the positive sentiment is still in effect, considering the performance of the market today,” Eng told theedgemarkets.com.

Asian shares rose despite Greeece's financial crisis. According to Reuters, Asian stocks rose for a third consecutive day on Thursday, though widening cracks in Chinese stocks and Greece's standoff with its creditors capped gains, while the dollar was bolstered by upbeat U.S. economic data.

The dollar was near a three-week high on Thursday and world stock markets had a delicate feel, as the implication of U.S. jobs data later for a possible Fed rate hike, added to Europe's uncertainty over Greece.

The strengthening US dollar has offset the ringgit's positive sentiment from the Fitch upgrade.
The ringgit weakened to 3.7727 against the US dollar and depreciated to 2.7919 against the Singapore dollar.

Overall, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.46 billion shares, valued at RM1.85 billion, traded. There were 388 gainers and 351 decliners, while 334 counters were unchanged.

Top gainers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Chin Teck Plantations Bhd. Major decliners included Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and Scanwolf Corp Bhd.

The most actively-traded stock today was Frontken Corp Bhd, with about 66 million shares having changed hands.