At 5pm, the FBM KLCI gained 0.4% or 6.67 points to 1,452.74, the intra-day high, from Wednesday’s close of 1,446.07.
The benchmark index opened 1.73 points weaker at 1,444.34 and moved between 1,440.62 and 1,452.74 throughout the trading session.
However, market breadth remained negative, with decliners outpacing gainers by 626 to 328, while 419 counters were unchanged, 995 untraded and 63 others suspended.
Turnover expanded to 4.25 billion units worth RM4.97bil from 3.28 billion units valued at RM2.27bil on Wednesday.
Rakuten Trade equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said the regional markets closed mostly higher, driven by late buying activity, with investors anticipating a potential interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) next year.
The latest US data underscores a resilient economy in the third quarter 2023 and a simultaneous decline in inflation, heightening the likelihood that the Fed might consider implementing interest rate cuts earlier than originally projected.
Sentiment was further buoyed by the lacklustre China economic data, suggesting more government support is needed to help shore up growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
“As for the local bourse, we expect bargain hunting to continue spurred by the benchmark index’s comparatively lower valuations against its regional counterparts,” Thong told Bernama.
Among heavyweights, CelcomDigi rose 21 sen to RM4.34, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd and Dialog advanced 14 sen each to RM7.22 and RM2.21, Nestle increased RM3.70 to RM125.40, Tenaga Nasional Bhd gained 11 sen to RM9.99 and Public Bank Bhd added three sen to RM4.27.
As for the most active counters, Velesto Energy Bhd was flat at 22 sen, Kanger International Bhd eased one sen to 7.5 sen, Top Glove Corp Bhd lost five sen to 81 sen and Dagang Nexchange Bhd dropped two sen to 40 sen.