Hopes of progress in US-China talks lift KLCI

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips crept higher early Friday as investor appetite for equities improved on hopes of a quicker resolution to the US-China trade war which had battered Asian markets in recent months.

At 9.07am, the KLCI was up 0.69 of a point to 1,683.66. Turnover was 183.70 million shares valued at RM66.40mil. There were 160 gainers, 84 losers and 154 counters unchanged.

Stocks in Asia gained, building on the recent rally in risk assets, amid optimism for progress in US-China trade talks that earlier lifted U.S. equities and Treasury yields, Bloomberg reported. Shares in Japan, Australia and South Korea rose and futures pointed to gains in Hong Kong.

United Plantations rose 38 sen to RM26.18 with 100 shares done while Sarawak Oil Palm gained 12 sen to RM2.58.

Vitrox advanced 20 sen to RM6.68, Pentamaster 11 sen to RM2.97 and SAM Engineering nine sen to RM7.39.

Hitech-Padu jumped 7.5 sen to 63.5 sen in active trade as its 80% owned Dapat Vista is entering the government e-services space.

Petronas Gas gained 16 sen to RM17.88, riding on firmer crude oil prices. Top Glove added seven sen to RM4.80 in active trade.

Sime Plantation fell 15 sen to RM4.95 with just 100 shares done while Nestle lost 10 sen to RM147.30 and DRB-Hicom nine sen lower at RM1.70.

Bumi Armada gained two sen to 18 sen and it was the most active with 87.6 million shares done.

CIMB Equities Research is retaining its Add recommendation for Bumi Armada with an unchanged sum-of-parts based target price with the key rerating catalyst being closure in the refinancing negotiations.