KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 2): The FBM KLCI closed up 13.74 points or 0.86% today while the ringgit strengthened as investors anticipated a US-China trade deal and after China eased monetary policy to support its economy.
Across Bursa Malaysia, 3.36 billion shares worth RM1.86 billion were traded at 5pm. Gainers led decliners by 614 to 308 respectively.
Malaysian markets resumed trading today after markets were closed yesterday (Jan 1) for the New Year holiday.
Among the KLCI's 30 component stocks today, Public Bank Bhd was the biggest percentage gainer after the stock closed up 46 sen or 2.37% at RM19.90 followed by Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, which ended 10 sen or 2.15% higher at RM4.75.
The KLCI closed up at 1,602.50 today after falling 26.91 points or 1.67% on Tuesday (Dec 31) to 1,588.76.
Today, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd head of research Kenny Yee said the KLCI's rise was expected, given that selling was overdone on Tuesday.
Yee told theedgemarkets.com today there were no reasons for the KLCI's "intense sell down" on Tuesday. Today, he said Rakuten expects buying interest in the KLCI to continue on factors including US-China trade optimism and the ringgit's strength.
In currency markets today, the ringgit appreciated to its strongest point against the US dollar at 4.0813. At the time of writing, the exchange rate was 4.0890.
Bloomberg reported today the ringgit appreciated to its strongest level against the US dollar since April 2019 with sentiment buoyed by an improving global trade outlook and data suggesting Malaysian manufacturing may be on the mend.
Globally, Reuters reported that Asian shares kicked off 2020 on a strong note on Thursday, spurred by Chinese markets after Beijing eased monetary policy to support the slowing economy.
Investors were cheered after China's central bank on Wednesday said it would cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, releasing around 800 billion yuan (US$114.9 billion) in funds for lending, effective Jan 6.
"Investors also cheered news that the US and China will sign a trade pact soon after months of volatile negotiations between the world's two largest economies. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Phase 1 of trade deal with China would be signed on Jan 15 at the White House, though uncertainty surrounds details about the agreement," Reuters reported.