KLCI flat after Asian share rise on ECB rate cut

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13): The FBM KLCI closed up 0.25 point or 0.02% at 1,601.25 after Asian shares ended higher as investors took cue from the European Central Bank's (ECB) interest rate cut and as the US-China trade war appeared to ebb.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks advanced on Friday as hints of progress in US-China trade talks and aggressive stimulus from the ECB helped counter worries about a global economic slowdown. It was reported that the ECB delivered bigger-than-expected stimulus, cutting interest rates by 0.1 percentage point to minus 0.5%, promising that rates would stay low for longer and restarting bond purchases of 20 billion euros a month from November.

According to Reuters, the US on Thursday welcomed China's renewed purchases of US farm goods while maintaining the threat of US tariff hikes as the world's two largest economies prepared for talks aimed at breaking their trade war impasse. US President Donald Trump was quoted as saying he preferred a comprehensive trade deal with China but did not rule out the possibility of an interim pact, even as he said an "easy" agreement would not be possible.

In Malaysia today, Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong Teck Meng told theedgemarkets.com that investors are still taking cue from "external factors, mainly from the development of the trade talks between the US and China, as well as the progress of Brexit."

At Bursa Malaysia today, the KLCI closed higher after falling to its intraday low at 1,596.33. Across Bursa, volume settled at 2.1 billion shares worth RM1.5 billion.

Top gainers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

FXTM market analyst Han Tan wrote in a note today that major central banks potential monetary easing will be closely watched.

"With the Federal Reserve and the ECB having lowered their respective benchmark interest rates this year, global investors will also be eyeing whether the Bank of Japan and Bank of England will join the monetary easing party. China’s new Loan Prime Rate will also be closely watched, as more policy stimulus feeding through China could prop up economic conditions across the region, while offering some measure of support for Asian currencies," Tan said.

Next week, Malaysian markets will be closed on Monday (Sept 16) in conjunction with the Malaysia Day holiday, Bursa said on its website.  

Trading resumes on Tuesday.