KLCI snaps losses to follow Asian markets higher on US interest rate cut hopes

The key FBM KLCI fell briefly below the crucial 1,600 level in afternoon trade on Monday on mounting selling pressure in line with the key Asian markets.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and all key Asian markets closed higher on Friday as investors were confident of a US interest rate cut by end July.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 9.26 points or 0.56% to 1,658.19, snapping its recent losses. Turnover was 2.50 billion shares valued at RM1.61bil. There were 506 gainers, 311 losers and 433 counters unchanged.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 1.07%, Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.79%, South Korea's Kospi 1.35%, Taiwan's Taiex 0.68% while Singapore's STI advanced 0.48%.

Reuters reported global stocks rose as investors firmed up bets on a US interest rate cut at the end of July after a speech by a top Federal Reserve official further cemented expectations for one, fuelling appetite for risky assets and capping the dollar.

European shares opened higher across the board, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index gaining 0.7% in early trade. Britain's FTSE 100 index gained 0.6% and Germany's DAX rose 0.75%.

At Bursa, Heitech Padu hit limit-up, surging 30 sen to RM1.26 with 23.88 million shares done. Mesiniaga added 14 sen to RM1.34 while Complete Logistics added 12.5 sen to 93.5 sen.

In oil markets, crude surged after the US said its navy had destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a major choke-point for global crude flows, raising concerns about supply disruptions out of the region, Reuters reported. US light crude oil rose 70 cents to US$56 and Brent gained 99 cents to US$62.92. 

The firmer oil prices saw Petronas Chemical recoup part of its recent losses to climb 19 sen to RM7.81 and push the KLCI up 2.65 points. Petronas Gas added 16 sen to RM16.96 and nudged the index up by 0.55 point while Petronas Dagangan inched up four sen to RM24.32. Dialog rose six sen to RM3.51.

Tenaga rebounded 22 sen to RM13.64 and gave the KLCI a 2.18 point boost, IHH and Sime Darby added two sen each to RM5.78 and RM2.25 while Genting inched up one sen to RM6.63.

As for banks, CIMB's nine sen gain to RM5.24 added 1.52 points to the KLCI. HL Bank rose four sen to RM18.60, AmBank three sen to RM4.33, Public Bank two sen to RM22.88 and Maybank eked out a sen gain to RM8.87 but RHB Bank lost six sen to RM5.66.

Crude palm oil fell RM13 to RM1,970 per tonne. Sime Plantation fell three sen to RM4.67, KLK 10 sen to RM23.90 and PPB Group two sen to RM18.64 while IOI Corp shed one sen to RM4.23.

Among telcos, Telekom rose 14 sen to RM4.50, Maxis added nine sen to RM5.70, Digi edged up two sen to RM4.96 but Axiata fell two sen to RM5.08.

The ringgit rose against the US dollar by 0.04% to 4.1120 but slipped 0.23% against the pound sterling to 5.1448, shed 0.06% against the euro to 4.6257 and eased 0.02% to the Singapore unit to 3.0259.
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