At 5pm, the KLCI was up 14.52 points or 0.81% to 1,817.97 – the highest since May 2015.
Turnover was robust with 5.84 billion shares traded – maily due to penny oil and gas stocks – while the value was 3.94bil. Advancers beat decliners three to two or 604 gainers to 408 losers and 433 counters unchanged.
On the external front, Hong Kong stocks rose for a ninth straight session on Friday,while China's main Shanghai Composite index closed higher, Reuters reported.
Market sentiment perked up on the strong foreign buying while the ringgit advanced past the key 4.00 level to the US dollar.
The ringgit rose 0.22% against the US dolar to 3.9975 while its climbed 0.25% to the pound sterling to 5.4131. It edged up 0.02% to the euro at 4.8188 and climbed 0.09% against the Singapore dolar to 3.0118.
Analysts said the positive momentum for the local stock market was likely to continue for a while longer, since the market is driven by general interest in the regional markets, the election play “so we may see ongoing interest until GE14 is announced”.
A senior analyst said Malaysia has been a laggard market in the region and is probably playing catch-up at this stage, with rotational play from foreign funds, since other Asean markets have outperformed.
“Essentially Malaysia’s strong economy has been an attraction, as has the GE play. Other positive factors include expectations that interest rates may rise and consumer sentiment will improve. These would lead to ongoing strengthening of the ringgit, which is another draw for foreign funds,” the analyst said.
Axiata rose 23 sen to RM5.69 amd added 3.42 points to the KLCI, Maxis added two sen to RM6.05 while Digi and Telekom shed one sen each to RM4.89 and RM6.02.
Consumer stocks were among the top gainers, with Nestle up RM1.20 to RM103.40 and F&N gaining RM1.02 to RM27.82. However, BAT fell 40 sen to RM37.50 and Dutch Lady 16 sen lower at RM60.04.
Among the chip makers, KESM rose 64 sen to RM20.92 and MPI gained 34 sen to RM12.80.
UMW gained 25 sen to RM5.75 as analysts turned positive about its outlook and automobile business.
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