KLCI rises 20pts, emerges as biggest regional gainer

KLCI rises 20pts, emerges as biggest regional gainer
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 23): Today, the FBM KLCI extended its gains from yesterday after Asian stocks rose to the highest in almost two weeks, charting US stocks' upward climb as oil prices showed some signs of stabilising.

At the end of trading hours, the benchmark index was up 20.25 points or 1.23% to close at its intra-day high of 1,663.51 points, making it the highest gainer across the Asian region.

JF Apex Securities Bhd head of research Lee Chung Cheng believes the rebound may be due to some "window dressing", and does not expect the positive momentum to be able to sustain the profit-taking that he expects may arise next week.

According to Reuters, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed to the highest after the US market recorded a second session of gain on Tuesday, and oil prices rebounded as traders squared positions ahead of a traditional year-end period of low liquidity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up almost 1%, while the S&P 500 index ended 0.88% higher on Tuesday.

Most Asian markets registered gains, up between 0.5% and 1% today. At press time, Brent crude oil prices rose 1.02% to US$36.48 per barrel.

Across the local bourse, 1.63 billion shares, valued at RM1.63 billion, were traded, indicating that small and medium caps remain active in the market. Gainers beat decliners at 551 versus 331.

The gainers were led by Sam Engineering & Equipment (M) Bhd, which rose 8.95% to RM7.55, while the losing counters were topped by Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd, after falling 4.44% to RM8.60. Supermax Corp Bhd's call warrants (SUPERMX-C8) were the most actively traded.

Lee told theedgemarkets.com that the FBM KLCI today, besides tracking the US market's gain, was also boosted by some bargain hunting after a prolonged period of selling, particularly among blue chips like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd, YTL Corp Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and Axiata Group Bhd.

However, he noted that the buying was not done in a big way, and expects the market to again be quiet and trade sideways next week.

Meanwhile, the trading participation yesterday showed local institutions were net sellers, while foreign institutions and local retail were net buyers.

(Note: The Edge Research's fundamental score reflects a company's profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)