KLCI gains on improved US economy, slight oil recovery

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 24): The benchmark FBM KLCI closed up 0.28% or 4.82 points to settle at 1,731.68 points as at 5pm today, on a cautiously more optimistic note after flattish trade in the past few days.

Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong attributed the market’s optimism to the improvement in the US economy and a slight recovery in oil prices.

“WTI (West Texas Intermediate) is now trading at US$61 per barrel and Brent is trading at US$64 per barrel ... other external factors are there is some relief that Greece now has a plan in place for its debt problems,” Danny Wong told theedgemarkets.com.

According to Reuters, oil prices nudged higher in Asian trade today on hopes for stronger than expected US crude demand, while doubts over the prospect of reaching an agreement next week on Iran's nuclear programme eased oversupply concerns.

"US$60 a barrel is the new normal for the next several months," said Reuters in its report.

According to Bloomberg, US Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said yesterday that he sees a 50-50 chance the US economy will improve enough for him to support a rate increase in September, with a second move to follow in December.

On the other hand, the ringgit continued to trade at weak levels against both the US dollar (USD) and the Singapore dollar (SGD); it was trading at 3.7513 against the USD and 2.7949 against the SGD at the time of writing.

Overall, the KLCI saw a total of 1.79 billion shares — valued at RM1.89 billion — traded during the day.

Gainers outweighed losers with 443 gainers against 353 decliners, while 288 counters remained unchanged.

Among today’s top gainers were British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and PPB Group Bhd.

Decliners were led by Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Shangri-La Hotels (Malaysia) Bhd.

The most actively-traded stock today was KNM Group Bhd, which saw about 156.24 million shares change hands.

Regional markets were also up, with Japan’s Nikkei closing up 0.28%, South Korea’s KOSPI closing up 0.21% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closing up 0.26%.