KUALA LUMPUR: Digi, Petronas Gas and GentingM helped the FBM KLCI to end above the crucial 1,600 level on Friday as investors sentiment perked up following the improved key Asian markets.
At 5pm, the KLCI was up 3.69 points or 0.23% to 1,601.42. Turnover was 5.95 billion shares valued at RM3.23bil. The broader market improved also as advancers beat decliners two to one or 696 gainers to 345 losers and 461 counters unchanged.
Reuters reported MSCI's ex-Japan Asia index rose 1.5% after hitting a near three-month low on Thursday.
At Bursa, Petronas Gas rose 18 sen to RM15.82 but Petronas Dagangan lost 18 sen to RM19.90 and Petronas Chemicals 15 sen to RM7.90. Dialog shed four sen to RM3.09.
Oil prices reversed a sharp sell-off a day earlier to rise about 2% on Friday on mounting fears that it could take weeks to dislodge a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal, which would squeeze supplies of crude and refined products, according to Reuters.
Brent crude was higher by $1.09, or 1.8%, at $63.04 a barrel by 0750 GMT, after dropping 3.8% on Thursday.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $1.22, or 2.1%, at $59.78 a barrel, having tumbled 4.3% a day earlier.
As for plantations, KL Kepong rose 16 sen to RM23.08, Sime Plantation four sen to RM4.80 but PPB Group was two sen lower at RM18.52 and IOI Corp one sen down to RM4.20. BLD Plantation rose 30 sen to RM8.20.
Among the telcos, Digi added 11 sen to RM3.78, Axiata four sen to RM3.68, Telekom three sen to RM6.20 while Maxis was flat at RM4.58.
GentingM advanced nine sen to RM3.17, Genting eight sen to RM5.24 and Tenaga four sen to RM10.80.
Top Glove added five sen to RM5.15 but Supermax fell six sen to RM4.16 and Hartalega nine sen lower at RM9.54.
Hong Leong Bank closed 10 sen higher at RM18.78, Maybank and Public Bank edged up two sen to RM8.25 and RM4.19, RHB Bank one sen to RM5.36 but CIMB dipped two sen to RM4.44
MPI was the top gainer, up RM1.48 to RM38.30 and KESM 16 sen to RM11.82.
Pineapple jumped 16.5 sen to 94 sen in the absence of strong positive leads. It distributes and resells of a full range of computer products, including notebooks, peripherals, printers, printing consumables and other related accessories.
Gamuda fell 16 sen to RM3.54 on concerns about the huge funding commitment for the Penang Transport Masterplan. It is aiming to start the first reclamation works for the massive Penang South Island (PSI) project as early as next month after it received the green light from the state government.
Dataprep lost 12 sen to RM1.76 with over 13 million shares done.
On the external front, Reuters reported China's blue-chip CSI300 index rose on Friday and snapped a five-week losing streak, boosted by beaten-down consumer firms and strong inflows from foreign investors.
At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 2.27% at 5,037.99 points. It rose 0.62% for the week, its first weekly gain after five straight weeks of losses.
The Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.63% higher at 3,418.33, snapping a three-day losing streak. In tandem with the broader gains, stocks in Taiwan, India, Indonesia and South Korea climbed nearly 1%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended higher supported by gains in technology companies, but rising tensions between the West and China led the benchmark index to post losses for the week.
At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 436.82 points, or 1.57%, at 28,336.43, after finishing at its lowest close since Jan 11 a day earlier.