KLCI at intraday high amid cautious sentiment on ringgit

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 15): The FBM KLCI posted sharp 11th hour gains amid cautious sentiment, as investors eyed Greece's debt crisis.

At 5pm, the KLCI rose 6.16 points or 0.4% to 1,727.26 on gains in Hong Leong Financial Group and PPB Group Bhd. Both ended among Bursa Malaysia top gainers.

Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd's chief market strategist Benny Lee said market sentiment was still cautious, despite a rebound in European markets last week.

"This is mainly due to the weakening ringgit against the US dollar, at above the 3.8000 level.

“Investors are worried about where the market is going. If the ringgit has been strengthening slightly, market confidence will improve,” Lee told theedgemarkets.com.

At 4.50pm, the ringgit was traded at 3.8040 against the US dollar, which is deemed a haven amid market volatility.

Greece's debt crisis will be closely watched. Although Greece has reached an agreement with its lenders, the country still needs parliament approval to implement the scheme with lenders.

Reuters reported yields on peripheral bonds dipped, while European stocks and the euro held their breath on Wednesday, as fractious parties in the Greek parliament prepared to vote on EU-prescribed austerity measures needed to unlock a third bailout.

Lawmakers from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' Syriza party and their allies argued behind closed doors about whether to back the reforms. Tsipras defended the deal, saying it was better than the alternative of being forced out of the euro zone.

In Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.31 billion shares, worth RM1.70 billion, traded. There were 376 gainers and 353 decliners.

Top decliners were Hong Kong's Hang Seng-linked put warrant HSI-HF, and Metrod (M) Bhd.
 
The most-actively traded stock was Kinsteel Bhd.

In Asian share markets, Nikkei 225 rose 0.38%, while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.66%. Hang Seng dropped 0.26%.

Reuters reported Asian stocks struggled to keep their gains on Wednesday, as a renewed slide in Chinese equities eclipsed upbeat data from the world's second-biggest economy, while the euro slipped ahead of a Greek parliamentary vote on austerity measures.

Investors continued to wait for lead from the congressional testimony by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief, who will offer clues on the timing of US interest rate hikes.

Tomorrow, the Malaysian share market will be closed in the afternoon, followed by a break on Friday in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri holidays.

Bursa Malaysia will resume operations next Monday (July 20).