KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets rallied between 1% and nearly 3% on Thursday, underpinned by China's move to slash tariffs by half on US goods amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 15.98 points or 1.04% to 1,552.77 but year-to-date, it is down 2.27%. Turnover was 3.08 billion shares valued at RM2.47bil. Advancers led declines more than two to one. There were 673 gainers, 292 losers and 316 counters unchanged.
Stock markets across the world gained on Thursday, helped by record highs on Wall Street and a move by China to halve tariffs on some US goods as investors bet that the global economy would avoid long-term damage from the coronavirus, Reuters reported.
The ringgit slipped against the US dollar but gained against the Singapore dollar, euro and pound sterling. It fell 0.09% to the greenback to 4.1205 but rallied 0.55% against the pound to 5,3504, climbed 0.47% against the euro to 4.5310 and edged up 0.27% to the Singapore dollar at 2.9775.
Leading the rebound and sending the KLCI higher were Public Bank, MISC, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional.
Public Bank rose 40 sen to RM18.40 and added 2.75 points to the KLCI, Maybank nine sen to RM8.45, CIMB four sen to RM5.02, HL Bank 12 sen to RM16.10, RHB Bank six sen to RM5.76 and AmBank two sen to RM3.85. Aeon Credit climbed 40 sen to RM13.30.
MISC climbed 29 sen to RM8.25 and added 2.30 points to the KLCI, Tenaga 12 sen to RM12.88 and nudged the index 1.21 points, Genting eight sen to RM5.38, GentingM nine sen to RM3.03 and Sime Darby two sen to RM2.20.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM88 to RM2,892 per tonne. KL Kepong added 18 sen to RM23.62, Sime Plantation nine sen to RM5.19, IOI Corp four sen to RM4.49 but PPB Group shed six sen to RM18.70.
US light crude oil rallied 92 cents to US$51.67 and Brent gained 71 cents to US$55.99.
Petronas Dagangan gained 10 sen to RM22.42, Petronas Chemicals added seven sen to RM6.50 but Petronas Gas lost eight sen to RM16.20. Dialog four sen to RM3.44.
MAHB extended its gains, rising 10 sen to RM7.04.
Hartalega gained seven sen to RM5.80 but Top Glove fell three sen to RM5.62 and Supermax eight sen lower at RM1.68.
Efforts accelerated to contain the new coronavirus that has claimed 563 lives, with regions from Hong Kong to India putting in place more restrictions for travellers from China, Bloomberg reported.
Momentum from Wall Street spilled from Asia into European markets, gathering pace as investors assessed prospects for help to the global economy in the form of government stimulus and looser policy from central banks.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 2.38%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 2.64%, Shanghai Composite 1.72%, Taiwan's Taiex 1.52%, South Korea's Kospi 2.88% and Singapore's Straits Times Index 0.93%.
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