KUALA LUMPUR: Last-minute buying interest pushed the FBM KLCI sharply higher on Thursday as investors’ sentiment improved following the lower-than-expected US inflation data.
The benchmark index closed up 13.23 points, or 0.89% to 1,505.56, its highest in a week.
In the broader market, gainers outnumbered laggards 628-to-260; about 2.55 million shares changed hands in deals worth RM1.97bil.
All indices on Bursa Malaysia, except the Bursa Malaysia healthcare Index, closed higher.
Bursa Malaysia Healthcare Index fell 12.02 points or 0.72% to 1,650.59 points today.
The broadly upbeat mood comes as investors bet on the pace of interest rate hikes slowing after data pointed to inflation peaking.
“Investors are certainly in a more upbeat mood as the relief from the US inflation data ripples through the markets,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst, UK & EMEA, Oanda said.
“Positive surprises have been hard to come by on the inflation front this year and yesterday's report was very much welcomed with open arms.
“While we shouldn't get too carried away by the data, with headline inflation still running at 8.5% and core 5.9%, it's certainly a start and one we've waited a long time for,” he said.
Erlam noted that Fed policymakers remain keen to stress that the tightening cycle is far from done and a policy u-turn early next year is highly unlikely.
In terms of fund flows, foreign funds and retailers were net buyers on Wednesday acquiring equities worth RM9mil and RM82mil respectively.
Local institutions emerged as net sellers with total disposal valued at RM91mil.
On Bursa Malaysia, Malaysian Pacific Industries surged RM1.38 to RM32.20, Sam Engineering rose 74 sen to RM4.59, Heineken gained 62 sen to RM24.38 and F&N added 52 sen to RM23.02.
Hartalega, the biggest drag on the index, fell 6.94%, or 17 sen to RM2.28, its lowest since May 2017.
Riverview lost 15 sen to RM3.31, Khind eased 10 sen to RM2.85 and Harrisons declined seven sen to RM1.22.
On the external front, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was higher by 1.74%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.65% lower at 27,819.33 while South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.73% to 2,23.78.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 2.4%, at 20,082.43.
China’s CSI300 index rose 2.04% to 4,193.54, while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.6% at 3,281.67 points.