KLCI up on trade talk breakthrough hopes; Carlsberg rises to record high

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 18): The FBM KLCI today closed 3.91 points or 0.23% higher in tandem with Asian share market gains as investors anticipated a breakthrough in China-US trade talks.  
 
At 5pm, the KLCI closed at 1,692.74. In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 1.6% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite rose 2.68%. Elsewhere across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.82% while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.67%.

US markets are closed today in conjunction with Washington's Birthday holiday. On Friday, anticipation of a breakthrough China-US trade talks helped US equities end substantially higher.

Reuters reported that Wall Street rallied on Friday, with the Dow and the Nasdaq posting their eighth consecutive weekly gains as investors grew hopeful that the United States and China would hammer out an agreement resolving their protracted trade war. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 443.86 points, or 1.74 percent, to 25,883.25, the S&P 500 gained 29.87 points, or 1.09 percent, to 2,775.6 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.46 points, or 0.61 percent, to 7,472.41.

It was reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday trade talks with the United States will continue in Washington this week and that he hopes the two sides will be able to reach a mutually beneficial deal in the upcoming negotiations. It was reported that Xi said during a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that talks in Beijing last week made progress and that China is willing to solve economic and trade disputes with the United States via cooperation.

Today, it was reported that Asian share markets bounced broadly on Monday as investors dared to hope for both progress at Sino-US trade talks in Washington this week and more policy stimulus from major central banks.

In Malaysia today, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that the positive market sentiment was mainly underpinned by Xi’s remarks on China-US trade talks.

“Markets are anticipating that there could be a trade breakthrough by the end of the month between the US and China. So, this has boosted the sentiment for today,” said Leong.

He also noted that Malaysian stocks' positive sentiment was also due to higher crude oil prices. It was reported that Brent crude futures were at US$66.66 per barrel at 0746 GMT, up 41 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last close.

Across Bursa Malaysia today, 2.75 billion shares worth RM1.65 billion were traded.

Top gainers included Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd.

Carlsberg shares closed at their all-time high at RM23.02 with 1.06 million units traded. The stock had earlier today risen to its record intraday high at RM23.50.