KLCI up on Sime Darby amid ECB bond-buy taper rumour

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 5): The FBM KLCI rose 1.67 points or 0.1%, partly on Sime Darby Bhd's share gains amid speculation the European Central Bank (ECB) would reduce its bond purchase.

At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,662.92 points after volatile trade. Sime Darby shares rose 20 sen to RM7.81 to become Bursa Malaysia's fourth-largest gainer.

Sime Darby shares rose after the group said it placed out 316.35 million new shares to institutional investors at RM7.45 each. Sime Darby's share trade was suspended between 9am and 10am today in conjunction with the announcement.

As speculation on the ECB's move hogged the spotlight, analysts said global markets could overpower any local catalysts.

"For today, with the sell-down in the US markets yesterday, and global investors feeling jittery over the possibility of ECB tapering its bond purchases, these could have affected today's market performance," Etiqa Insurance and Takaful research head Chris Eng told theedgemarkets.com.

Reuters reported that Asian shares and gold retreated on Wednesday and bond yields were near two-week highs as markets were rattled by a media report flagging the possible withdrawal of the ECB's bond buying programme.

Quoting Bloomberg, Reuters reported that the ECB would probably wind down its €80 billion (RM372 billion/US$90 billion) monthly bond purchases gradually before ending its quantitative easing programme. Reuters reported that Bloomberg cited unnamed officials at euro zone countries' central banks.

Across Bursa Malaysia, 1.63 billion shares valued at RM2.16 billion changed hands. There were 477 decliners and 288 gainers.

The biggest gainer was Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd while Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd was the largest decliner. Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd was the most-active counter.