KUALA LUMPUR (July 15): The FBM KLCI was lifted by last minute gains in index-linked counters, closing 0.17% higher after spending most of the day in the red.
The index had dipped into the red shortly after it opened and had spent the rest of the session slowly inching up towards positive territory, before closing 2.92 points higher at 1,672.37, lifted by increases in blue chip stocks such as Genting Malaysia Bhd and Dialog Group Bhd.
The higher close was in line with gains seen in other Asian markets, supported by encouraging data from China.
Analysts are largely expecting the KLCI to fall this week, amid a lack of catalysts for the local market in the near term.
Hong Leong Investment Bank head of retail research Loui Low said bearish technical indicators are pointing to further consolidation this week and that any technical rebound to be capped.
"Key supports are situated at 1,655, 1,647 and 1,633 territory. Conversely, any technical rebound is likely to be capped at 1,680, 1,694 and 1,700 barriers," wrote Low in a note.
Similarly, JF Apex Securities expects further decline in the KLCI in the near term, also seeing key support at 1,655.
A total of 3.01 billion shares worth RM1.65 million were crossed today, with market breadth remaining negative as 378 counters closed lower against 369 gainers.
The gainers were led by British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, Nestle (Malaysia) Holdings Bhd and Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, while the decliners were led by Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd and KESM Industries Bhd. The most actively traded stock was Bumi Armada.
Regionally, Japan's Nikkei increased 0.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.29% and China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4%, while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2%.
Reuters said Asian shares advanced today as investors breathed a sigh of relief after encouraging Chinese data suggested the world's second-biggest economy may be starting to stabilise thanks to ramped-up stimulus from Beijing.
While second quarter economic growth slowed to 6.2%, the slowest pace in 27 years, China's industrial output and retail sales had beat forecasts, suggesting the effectiveness of the stimulus measures.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan reversed earlier losses to be 0.2% higher. It fell a little more than 1% last week, ending five straight weeks of gains, Reuters reported.