Blue chips advance after record overnight close on Wall St

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips climbed in early Thursday trade, with chip makers and tech stocks among the top gainers, tracking the strong key Asian markets after Wall Street posted record closing.

At 9.42am, the FBM KLCI was up 9.58 points or 0.59% to 1,634.55. Turnover was 2.51 billion shares valued at RM873.12mil. There were 542 gainers, 314 losers and 389 counters unchanged.

Most Asian stocks climbed Thursday with US equity futures on the Federal Reserve’s projections for interest rates to remain near-zero through 2023. The dollar dipped and Treasury yields were steady, Bloomberg reported.

Stocks rallied in Japan and South Korea after the S&P 500 Index reached a record as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s tolerant stance on inflation and the recent rise in bond yields.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs. It was the first time the Dow closed above 33,000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.58% to end at 33,015.37 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.29% to 3,974.12.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.4% to 13,525.20. The Nasdaq remains down about 4% from its Feb. 12 record-high close.

Bloomberg reported oil steadied below $65 a barrel after a four-day drop, aided by a weaker dollar as traders assessed the outlook for rising demand.

At Bursa on Wednesday, foreign funds were net buyers at RM12.8mil and local retail investors at RM66.8mil but local funds were net sellers at RM79.7mil.

Rakuten Trade said the KLCI remains stuck in a consolidation mode despite later buying activities.

"As such, we would expect the index to again trend within a narrow range of within the 1,625/30 range today.

"Nonetheless, the broader market undertone is quite positive with trading activities centred predominantly on the smaller caps as market volume has been building up over the past week," it said in its market strategy report.

MPI was the top gainer, up 56 sen to RM37.20 and Unisem added 14 sen to RM7.32.

CCB hit limit up, surging 50 sen to RM2.18 after its largest shareholder Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd (Jardine CCL) has made a fresh bid to privatise the country's largest dealer of Mercedes-Benz at RM2.40 per share.

Bursa and Time dotcom rose 20 sen each to RM9.39 and RM14.38.

HLIndustries continued its upward trend, climbing 33 sen to RM10.

As for consumer stocks, Carlsberg rose 30 sen to RM24.44 and Heineken 24 sen to RM26.48.

Telekom rose 13 sen to RM6.53.

Toyo Ventures continued to lose ground, falling 12 sen to RM2.71, Dataprep fell 10 sen to RM3.24.

Classic Scenic lost six sen to RM1.51.

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