Malaysian stocks end higher on optimism of US-China trade deal

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 6): Malaysian stocks closed higher today, after opening lower, as investors became optimistic on signs of the US and China striking a deal in their ongoing trade war.

The FBM KLCI closed 4.86 points or 0.31% higher at 1,568.44. The benchmark index was traded between 1,561.58 and 1,569.01 points today.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Loui Low told theedgemarkets.com that the positive statements coming from both the US and China over the last two days have lifted the positive sentiment in the market.

He added that crude palm oil (CPO) prices hovering at above the RM2,800-level have also contributed to the gains in the benchmark index.

“Hopefully that the window dressing activities may sustain until the end of December,” said Low.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks gained on Friday as investors took heart from the US President Donald Trump saying trade talks with China were “moving right along”, and US oil prices sat near 2-1/2-month highs after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers agreed to cut output.

Trump’s upbeat tone in comments on Thursday was enough to spark buying, despite a lack of agreement between Washington and Beijing over whether existing tariffs should be dropped as part of a preliminary deal to end their trade war, the report added.

Investors were hoping that the two sides will reach a compromise to at least avoid their worst fears that the US will go ahead with its final batch of tariffs on about US$156 billion of Chinese exports.

Of the 30 components of the KLCI, Sime Darby Plantation Bhd was the top gainer, rising 13 sen or 2.52% to close at RM5.28.

Plantation stocks were among the day’s big gainers on the broader market, led by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd which closed 46 sen or 1.94% higher at RM24.20, followed by United Plantations Bhd which rose 10 sen or 0.38% to settle at RM26.10.

Trading volume increased to 2.49 billion shares worth RM1.54 billion, compared with Thursday's 2.39 billion shares worth RM1.7 billion. Gainers led losers by 497 to 355, while 363 counters remained unchanged.

Across in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.23%, South Korea's Kospi grew 1.02% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.07%.