KUALA LUMPUR: Late fund buying of key stocks CIMB and Tenaga Nasional powered the FBM KLCI past the 1,780 level on Thursday while the ringgit hit a 10-month high against the US dollar.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 10.5 points or 0.59% to 1,782.98. Turnover was 2.63 billion shares valued at RM2.41bil. The broader market was firm with 504 gainers to 299 losers and 434 counters unchanged.
The ringgit rose 0.65% to the US dollar to 4.2110 and climbed 0.52% to the pound sterling at 5.5029 while it gained 0.29% against the Singapore dollar to 3.1290. It rebounded 0.6% to the euro at 5.0356.
Underpinning the stronger equities market were the upward trend in crude oil prices, stronger export growth in July and Bank Negara Malaysia's Monetary Policy Committee outlook of a firmer economic growth this year.
On the external front, Hong Kong stocks reversed earlier gains to end lower on Thursday, pressured by losses in the mainland share market, Reuters reported. The Hang Seng index fell 0.3%, to 27,522.92, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.3%, to 11,098.72, Reuters reported.
China stocks fell, as profit taking in resource shares following their recent rally and weakness in the banking sector offset strong gains in real estate companies. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.5%, to 3,829.87, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 3,365.50.
However, at Bursa Malaysia, CIMB rose 16 sen to RM6.91 in late trading and pushed the KLCI up 2.47 points, Hong Leong Bank added eight sen to RM15.48, Maybank two sen to RM9.49 but AmBank fell one sen to RM4.31 while RHB Bank and Public Bank shed two sen each to RM5.05 and RM20.58.
Tenaga rose 16 sen to RM14.56 and nudged the KLCI up 1.54 points, Genting Bhd
added 14 sen to RM9.98, Bursa was up 42 sen to RM10.42, MISC was up three sen to RM7.34 but Genting Malaysia fell one sen to RM5.95.
Brent oil prices firmed on Thursday, hovering near 3-1/2-month highs as U.S. refiners restarting after Tropical Storm Harvey increased their crude processing and the U.S. dollar declined, Reuters reported.
US light crude oil rose five sen to US$49.21 and Brent jumped 41 cents to US$54.61. Petronas Gas fell 18 sen to RM18.20 and wiped out 0.6 of a point from the KLCI, Petronas Dagangan 12 sen lower at RM24.48 while Petronas Chemicals edged up one sen to RM7.40. UMW-OG rose two sen to 32.5 sen in active trade.
Padini rose a fresh high of RM4.51 ahead of its dividend going ex and upgrades by analysts after its stronger earningsa for FY ended June 30, 2017.
BAT was the top gainer, up RM1.46 to RM44.60, Ajinomoto and Nestle 46 sen to RM19.36 and RM84.76 while Heineken gained 22 sen to RM19.30.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM13 to RM2,757 per tonne. PPB Group rose 12 sen to RM16.74, KL Kepong six sen to RM24.672 and IOI Corp three sen to RM4.56 while heavyweight Sime Darby lost four sen to RM9.03.