Positive World Bank forecast lifts market sentiment, KLCI up 0.89%

Positive World Bank forecast lifts market sentiment, KLCI up 0.89%
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): The FBM KLCI rose 0.89% at the midday break today to firmly cross the 1,750-point level.

Sentiment at the local bourse received a boost with the latest Malaysia Economic Monitor, launched today by the World Bank, projecting a 5.8% economic growth this year for Malaysia, the country's highest annual growth rate since 2014 and expected to remain strong, forecast at 5.2% for 2018.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI rose 15.67 points to 1,753.33.

Gainers led losers by 352 to 245, while 563 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.24 billion shares valued at RM1.24 billion.

The top gainers included Public Bank Bhd, United Plantations Bhd, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd, KESM Industries Bhd, Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd, Hengyuan Refining Company Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Top Glove Corp Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

The actives included Sapura Energy Bhd, Trive Property Group Bhd, Ekovest Bhd, NetX Holdings Bhd, PUC Bhd, Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd, Key Alliance Group Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

The decliners included Allianz Malaysia Bhd, Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd, Selangor Properties Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, ViTrox Corp Bhd, JHM Consolidation Bhd, Time dotCom Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks edged higher on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered a much-anticipated interest rate hike but flagged caution about inflation, tempering expectations for future tightening, which weighed on the US dollar and Treasury yields, according to Reuters.

China's central bank also raised rates, though marginally. While Chinese shares were slightly lower, the wider impact was limited, it said.

Affin Hwang IB senior associate director and head of retail research Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said Wall Street lost steam after the Fed lifts interest rates.

He said US dollar and Treasury yields added to early losses while gold jumped, adding that US central bank raised Fed funds target range by 25 basis points to 1.25-1.5%.

"Policymakers expect three more quarter-point increases in 2018.

"Oil prices remained volatile after making strong gains earlier in the week following the closure of a big North Sea pipeline system.

"Bursa Malaysia made an encouraging rebound but with smaller volume.

"We expect more bullish impact from a flurry of expectation over the prospects for USA tax reform. Bursa consolidation mode remains, accumulate quality stocks on price weakness," he said.