Firm start for KLCI, Asian markets climb

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia started the week on a firmer note on Monday as the FBM KLCI advanced on gains by Hong Leong Bank, tracking the steady key Asian markets.

At 9.44am, the KLCI was up 6.56 points or 0.41% to 1,622.25. There were 2.55 billion shares valued at RM1.03bil. There were 486 gainers, 346 losers and 389 counters unchanged.

Global stock prices were off to a solid start while U.S. bond yields hovered near a 13-month peak on Monday as investors bet U.S. economic growth will accelerate after the passing of a massive stimulus package.

U.S. S&P500 futures rose 0.25% in early Asian trade, trading just below a record high level touched last week, while Japan's Nikkei ticked up 0.1%

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.

At Bursa last week, foreign funds were net buyers at RM240.7mil and local retail investors at RM183.3mil but local institutions were net sellers at RM424mil.

Rakuten Trade expects the KLCI to see further consolidation following some strong selling since last Wednesday.

Therefore, we expect the index to trend around the 1,610/20 range today as interests may centre on the smaller caps today as volume traded is slowly creeping up.

Meanwhile, both the crude palm oil (CPO) and crude oil prices remain bullish which should be positive on the Malaysian economy.

Nestle was the top gainer, up 60 sen to RM136.10 and BAT 26 sen to RM13.10.

HL Industries added 59 sen to RM10.12 and Hong Leong Bank 16 sen to RM19.18.

Cheetah surged 26 sen to RM1.85, Press Metal 22 sen to RM10.28, Gopeng 19 sen to 85.5 sen and Riverview 14 sen to RM3.10.

PMB Tech gained 30 sen to RM6.24 but MPI fell 90 sen to RM36.28, Genetec 37 sen lower to RM5.33, Greatec 31 sen to RM5.33, Unisem 15 sen to RM7.35, Pentamaster and Vitrox 12 sen each to RM5.60 and RM14.58 while MI lost nine sen to RM4.10.

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