KUALA LUMPUR: Fund buying of key stocks Petronas Gas, IOI Corp, Hong Leong Bank and Digi underpinned the FBM KLCI advance on Wednesday, in line with the firmer key Asian markets despite worrries about the volatile US-China ties.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 8.67 points or 0.55% to 1,574.90 on late buying support. Turnover rose to 3.06 billion shares valued at RM2.23bil. The broader market was mixed with 458 gainers, 426 losers and 378 counters unchanged.
US-China ties came into focus again as the yuan fell after Beijing criticised new US legislation seen as supportive of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
Escalating trade tariffs from China and the United States over the past year has forced central banks to start cutting interest rates as global growth expectations have weakened.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.61%, Taiwan's Taiex advanced 0.46%, South Korea's Kospi 0.71% higher while Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.6%. China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.41%.
At Bursa, which had seen it come under selling pressure from foreign funds this year, managed to post some solid gains especially among the big capitalised stocks. However, the weak ringgit has impacted risk appetite for equities.
Fitch Ratings said although the government's forecasts that GDP would increase by 4.7% this year and 4.8% next year, the targets might be moderately optimistic.
However, Malaysia's well-diversified export base would help the economy maintain a relatively strong growth despite global trade tensions, it said.
BAT was the top gainer after the recent upgrade by analysts, adding RM1.40 to RM20.20 while F&N gained 56 sen to RM35.04, Nestle 40 sen higher at RM144.40 and Heineken 18 sen to RM25.20.
US light crude oil fell 12 cents to US$52.69 and Brent 21 cents lower at US$58.53.
Despite a decline in crude oil prices, Petronas Gas rose 40 sen to RM16.98 and lifted the KLCI by 1.39 points, Petronas Chemicals added two sen to RM7.31 while Petronas Dagangan was flat at RM23.30. Dialog inched up one sen to RM3.47.
YINSON, which resumed after two days for an announcement that it received two letters of intent (LOI) from Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) with a value of US$5.4bil, ended 15 sen higher at RM6.99.
Crude palm oil for third month deivery rose RM38 to RM2,252 per tonne.
IOI Corp rose 11 sen to RM4.33 and added 1,22 points to the KLCI, KL Kepong gained 18 sen to RM21.68, PPBN Group was flat at RM17.96 while Sime Plantation gave up part of the previous day's gains, shedding five sen to RM4.80.
Among the banks, Hong Leong Bank boosted the KLCIby 1.14 points when it rose 30 sen to RM16.84, SIMB added five sen to RM4.98, AmBank seven sen to RM3.90. Maybank one sen to RM8.52 while Public Bank was flat at RM19.26.
Digi was the best performer among the telcos, up eight sen to RM4.71 and added 1.1 points. Maxis added five sen to RM5.45 and Axiata was flat at RM4.24.
The ringgit fell 0.06% against the US dollar to 4.1945, lost 0.8% to the pound sterling to 5.3453 and shed 0.1% to 4.6294. However, it edged up 0.06% against the Singapore dollar to 3.0564.