KLCI rises 0.42% as regional markets firm up

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 19): The FBM KLCI rose 0.42% at mid-morning today, against the backdrop of firmer regional markets, lifted by index heavyweight Tenaga Nasional Bhd as well as Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd.

At 10.05am, the FBM KLCI rose 7.01 points to 1,655.94.

Gainers led losers by 323 to 172, while 280 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 795 million shares valued at RM266.23 million.

The gainers included Heineken Malaysia Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Westports Holdings Bhd, Complete Logistic Services Bhd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Can-One Bhd and IGB Bhd.

The actives included Scomi Group Bhd, NetX Holdings Bhd, KNM Group Bhd, Green Packet Bhd and Sapura Energy Bhd.

The losers included British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Y&G Corp Bhd, Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd, Kobay Technology Bhd and Malaysia-listed Hang Seng Index-linked put warrants.

Asian stocks gained and the US dollar sagged on Friday after a top Federal Reserve (Fed) official all but cemented expectations of a US interest rate cut later this month, according to Reuters.

New York Fed President John Williams said on Thursday that policymakers need to add stimulus early to deal with too-low inflation when interest rates are near zero and cannot wait for economic disaster to unfold, in a speech read as a strong argument in favour of quick action, it said.

Hong Leong IB Research said that in the near term, all eyes are still on the updates from the US-China trade war talks as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will talk with Chinese counterparts today but cautioned that "complicated issues" remain.

"Nevertheless, market undertone is firm in anticipation of a minimum 25 bps cut during the July 30-31 FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting. We see the Dow to continue to trend at range bound mode within 26,800-27,400 zones.

"Given the uncertain Wall Street performance, KLCI is likely to continue its healthy pullback consolidation below the SMA200 (200-day simple moving average).

"Moreover, the unresolved trade tensions coupled with the slump in crude oil prices may put pressure amongst broader market on the local front.

"The FBM KLCI may trade within the range of 1,630-1,680 levels," it said.