KUALA LUMPUR: Fund buying of Maybank and CIMB helped push the FBM KLCI to a higher close on Thursday, extending its gains for two days while market sentiment was seen improving.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 5.8 points or 0.34% to 1,694.21. Turnover was 1.99 billion shares valued at RM1.88bil. Advancers led decliners two to one or 563 to 285 while 345 counters were unchanged.
The gains in the KLCI also mirrored most key Asian markets, excpet Japan, which picked up strength in the afternoon session. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.2% but the Hang Seng Index gained1.75%, Shanghai Composite added 1.36% and Singapore's STI 0.37%.
At Bursa, Ajinomoto was the top gainer for the day as the consumer stock climbed 74 sen to RM20.50, BAT added 58 sen to RM38.56 but F&N fell 60 sen to 33.
Maybank and CIMB rose nine sen each to RM9.38 and RM5.59 and pushed the KLCI up 3.2 points, Hong Leong Bank gained six sen to RM20.56, HLFG 10 sen to RM19, RHB Bank was flat at RM5.20 and Public Bank dipped two sen to RM24.50.
MAHB continued to see strong interest, shaking off the worries from two weeks ago when the government said travellers would have to pay a levy. It rose 21 sen to RM8.20.
Hartalega added 15 sen to RM6.20 and nudged the KLCI up nearly 0.9 point, Genting Bhd
was up nine sen to RM6.82, Genting Malaysia edged up one sen to RM3.63.
Tenaga lost eight sen to RM14.82 and erased 0.81 of a point while IHH shed one sen to RM4.60 and Sime Darby shed two sen to RM2.36.
As for telcos, Maxis gained five sen to RM5.40, Telekom eight sen higher to RM2.44, Axiata two sen to RM3.46 and Digi was unchanged at RM4.29.
US light crude oil edged up one sen to US$56.26 abd Brent gained 35 cents to US$66.47.
Among the oil and gas stocks, Dialog rose six sen to to RM3.20, Petronas Gas four sen to RM18.70 while Petronas Chemical and Petronas Dagangan were unchanged at RM9.40 and RM26.80.
Crude palm oil rose RM12 to RM1,985 per tonne. IOI Corp fell three sen to RM4.35, KL Kepong six sen to RM24.86 and PPB Group 10 sen to RM16.90. Sime Plantation edged up one sen to RM5.26.
The ringgit rose 0.17% to 4.1885 against the US dollar and jumped 0.74% to the pound sterling to 5.4009 but weakened 0.16% against the euro to 4.7415 and surrended 0.22% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0440.