KLCI extends gains as ringgit strengthens

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 12): The FBM KLCI extended gains today, rising 2.55 points or 0.2%, as the ringgit strengthened slightly against the U.S. dollar.

The KLCI closed at 1,677.76, with gains in counters such as British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Genting Bhd lending support to the index's advance. The ringgit strengthened to 4.4583 against the U.S. dollar in late afternoon trading, compared with yesterday’s close of 4.4722.

Across Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.46%; Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.58%; while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.58%.

Reuters reported the U.S. dollar nursed widespread losses today, after President-elect Donald Trump's long-awaited news briefing provided scant clarity on future fiscal policies, disappointing bulls wagering on major stimulus.

Yet, neither did Trump mention possible tariffs against Chinese exports — a relief for Asian share markets that have feared the outbreak of a global trade war.

Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Bhd head of research Chris Eng said the KLCI has beefed up as expected, with positive sentiment seen, following the ringgit’s rise against the greenback.

“Ringgit has strengthened slightly. The KLCI is expected to continue trend higher, mildly moving forward," he told theedgemarkets.com via telephone.

A total of 2.54 billion shares, worth RM2.19 billion, were traded on Bursa Malaysia today. Gainers outnumbered decliners by 539 to 298.

BAT was top gainer, while Time dotCom Bhd was the leading decliner.

IFCA MSC Bhd was the most actively-traded stock on continued strong interest. The company had said it is unaware of reasons for the recent sharp rise in its share price and volume, in response to an unusual market query (UMA) by Bursa Malaysia.