KLCI flat as foreign funds hold back amid Greece uncertainty



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KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): The FBM KLCI cuts gains to end almost flat as uncertainties on Greece's financials hit world market sentiment. Malaysia's political scene is closely watched as foreign investors sought clarity on the impact of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

At 5pm, the KLCI rose 0.39 point or 0.02% to settle at 1,810.11 points on gains in stocks like Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd. Both stocks were among Bursa Malaysia's leading gainers.

Bursa Malaysia saw 1.92 billion shares worth RM1.94 billion traded. Decliners edged gainers at 413 against 341 while 350 counters remained unchanged.

Top decliners included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd. The top-active stocks included Kanger International Bhd and Malakoff Corp Bhd.

In currency markets, the ringgit weakened to 3.6158 against the US dollar and depreciated to 2.7047 versus the Singapore dollar ahead.

A remisier said foreign investors were cautious about increasing their positions in local shares.

He said investors were monitoring the domestic political scene to gain a better picture of the direction in politics here.

“They (foreign investors) are holding on to what they have bought," he told theedgemarkets.com.

Among Bursa Malaysia's top gainers, Telekom rose 19 sen or 3% to close at RM7.60. JF Apex Securities analyst Lee Cherng Wee said investors could be eyeing the second phase of TM's high-speed broadband (HSBB) project.

Lee said Telekom’s valuation was at an all-time high, with a price-earnings ratio (PER) of over 30.

“Valuation is quite expensive, I think the PER is over 30. The next major development would be the HSBB phase two, although there are no details at all about it yet, other than the budget that they allocated under the budget announcement.

"It will probably take another year to implement judging from the previous experience from HSBB (phase one)," Lee told theedgemarkets.com over telephone today.

Across Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.85%, South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.88% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.39%.

Reuters reported that Japan's better-than-expected economic growth lifted the Nikkei to a 15-year high, up 0.9% as it gained from a weaker yen and after data showed Japan's economy grew at a 2.4% annualised rate in the January to March period.

Across the globe, the euro slid to a two-week low and a rally in European shares stalled on Wednesday after a Greek official said the country may not make an upcoming repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

Tomorrow, Malaysia will announce its 11th Malaysia Plan, which outlines the country's growth strategies from 2016–2020.