KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 14): The FBM KLCI erased losses to end in positive territory, lifted by banking stocks and a strengthening ringgit.
At the 5pm closing bell, the KLCI gained 2.99 points or 0.17% to 1,745 points. The KLCI had risen on banking stocks CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd.
Remisiers said banking stocks gained on a spillover effect from the termination of the mega-merger among CIMB, RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysian Building Society Bhd
"However it remained to be seen if it was the beginning of a re-rating for the sector," a remisier told theedgemarkets.com.
Across Bursa Malaysia, 1.93 billion shares worth about RM2.3 billion were traded.
The top gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd, Selangor Properties Bhd, Shell Refining Co (Federation of Malaya) Bhd and Harbour-Link Group Bhd.
Decliners were led by British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Genting Bhd and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd.
The most active stock was Minetech Resources Bhd.
CIMB was also one of the most actively traded stocks. It gained 16 sen to RM5.91 while Malayan Banking Bhd rose 21 sen to RM8.60.
The firmer ringgit was also closely watched. At the time of writing, the ringgit has strengthened to 3.5587 to the US dollar from 3.6045 yesterday.
Today, the ringgit also strengthened against the Singapore dollar at 2.6760 as at 4.58pm.
Across the region, Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 1.86% higher, South Korea's Kospi closed 0.03% up while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.99%.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks mostly edged up on Thursday after a significant rebound in oil and copper prices brought a semblance of calm, while the dollar regained ground lost on disappointing U.S. retail sales.