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Published: Monday December 31, 2012 MYT 5:52:00 PM

KLCI ends 2012 at all-time high of 1,688

KUALA LUMPUR: Late fund buying of key stocks including Maybank and KL Kepong powered the FBM KLCI to end 2012 on a strong note, with the index closing at a record high of 1,688.95.

At 5pm, the KLCI was up 7.62 points or 0.45% to 1,688.95. Year-to-date, the KLCI is up 10.34%.

Turnover was 834.82 million shares valued at RM1.31. Market breadth improved in the last hour of trade, with 318 gainers, 375 losers and 322 counters unchanged.

According to MIDF Equities Research, foreign funds bought more than RM13.50bil of Malaysian equities in 2012, which was 7.1 times the net inflow of RM1.9bil in 2011.

Reuters reported US stock index futures signaled a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, with stocks set to snap a five-session losing streak as talks continued in Washington over resolving the "fiscal cliff".

The wire report said talks were set to continue on Monday between lawmakers and the White House on how to deal with the US$600bil in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in at the start of January and could drag the economy in recession.

European markets were slightly down on Monday morning, although trading was muted as markets in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were closed while UK, French, Dutch and Spanish markets were only open for half a session.

Among the key regional markets, Shanghai's Composite Index rose 1.61% to 2,269.13 but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.04% to 22,656.92 and Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.77% to 3,167.08.

At Bursa Malaysia, KL Kepong surged RM2.06 to RM24 and drove the KLCI up 3.39 points. Batu Kawan added 70 sen to RM19, PPB rose 24 sen to RM11.60 while IOI Corp gained 11 sen to RM5.10.

Crude palm oil futures for third month delivery fell RM38 to RM2,459. Maybank rose 12 sen to RM9.20 and AMMB 11 sen to RM6.80, Petronas Chemicals added 18 sen to RM6.40 while Telekom Malaysia gained nine sen to RM6.04.

Late fund buying pushed Aeon up RM1.42 to RM14.12 and it was second top gainer for the day.

This was despite Affin Investment Research's "Reduce" rating recommendation and target price of RM10.30 pegged to an unchanged price-to-earnings ratio of 17 times CY13 earnings ratio (PER) of 17 times 2012 earnings per share. Another department store operator, Parkson added 44 sen to RM5.20.

However, Axiata fell 15 sen to RM6.59 with 15.73 million shares done. Its decline dragged the KLCI down 2.92 points.

HLFG fell the most, down 24 sen to RM13.20, CIMB four sen to RM7.63 and Public Bank two sen to RM16.28.

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