KUALA LUMPUR (June 20): The FBM KLCI increased by 10.05 points or 0.6% as concerns on the UK's possible European Union (EU) exit abated. In Malaysia, news on Barisan Nasional's (BN) by-election wins could have also contributed to the KLCI and ringgit's gain.
At 5pm today, the KLCI closed at 1,634.23 points while the ringgit strengthened to 4.0625 against the US dollar.
Areca Capital Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Danny Wong said the KLCI was expected to remain volatile until the UK votes on the EU exit proposal, which is popularly known as Brexit. The UK will undertake the Brexit referendum this Thursday (June 23).
"Until the Brexit vote, markets will remain volatile. But I believe that market will rally if the UK votes against Brexit," Wong told the theedgemarkets.com.
BN's by-election wins at Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar were also closely watched.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in a statement that in Sungai Besar, Selangor, BN had won with a majority of 9,191 votes compared to 399 in the 2013 general election. At Kuala Kangsar, Perak, Najib said BN won with a majority of 6,969 votes versus 1,082 previously.
"Now, with these two huge majority wins, and BN's landslide 72 out of 82 seat Sarawak election win last month, the people have shown their confidence for and trust in BN," Najib said.
Across Bursa Malaysia, decliners, however, led gainers by 370 counters to 361. Volume was 1.24 billion shares valued at RM1.41 billion.
Top decliners included Batu Kawan Bhd and United Plantations Bhd. Leading gainers included Petronas Gas Bhd and KLCC Property Holdings Bhd.
Most-actively traded counters included Vivocom International Holdings Bhd and SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd. SapuraKencana has been closely watched ahead of the the company's first quarter financials announcement this month.
Today, SapuraKencana shares fell three sen or 2% to settle at RM1.38. The third most-active stock saw some 34 million shares traded.
The KLCI had risen with Asian shares. Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 2.34% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng increased 1.69%.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks gained across the board today as fears of Brexit abated a little after poll results showed the "Remain" camp gained momentum, aiding a recovery in both the sterling and investor risk appetite.