Malaysian stocks extend gains for second day

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 13): Local shares kept up the momentum from yesterday in tandem with regional peers, underpinned by signs of easing tensions between the world's two major economies.

Reuters reported that Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of US soybeans, in the first major US soybean purchase in more than six months.

The bellwether FBM KLCI added 12.73 points or 0.77% to close at 1,676 points today, adding to yesterday's 10.64-point recovery from a nearly two-year low of 1,652.63 on Tuesday.

Trading volume decreased to 1.57 billion shares worth RM1.65 billion compared with Wednesday's 2.07 billion shares worth RM1.94 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers by 380 to 306, while 463 counters were unchanged.

TA Securities technical analyst Steven Soo said the relief rally for Bursa Malaysia in the past two days was mainly attributed to the easing trade tensions between the US and China.

As the market turns positive, he expects the KLCI to continue to remain in positive territory this week.

"Key level of resistance to look at are 1,680 (R1) and 1,700 (R2)," Soo said, adding that the KLCI is still under selling pressure. "Thus, it still needs fresh catalysts to sustain its gains further and to break the 1,700-point level."

Top gainers on Bursa included Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd and Petronas Dagangan Bhd, while top losers were Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd and Tasek Corp Bhd.

The active counters were Bumi Armada Bhd, My EG Services Bhd and Sanichi Technology Bhd.

Around Asia, gains were concentrated in Chinese shares. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.29% while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite climbed 1.23%. Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.99% and South Korea's Kospi was up 0.62%.