PETALING JAYA: Malaysian stocks rose yesterday after a surprise interest rate cut in the United States helped calm nervous investors. Most Asian bourses extended gains for a second day, except those in Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
The KL Composite Index (KLCI) leapt more than 50 points or 4% on the opening bell after trade resumed following a one-day break. The benchmark index ended 28.87 points, or 2.13%, higher at 1,383.35 points.
Dealers said trading sentiment was cautious, as the market kept a wary eye on overseas developments.
“Although the KL Composite Index dropped 4.27% year-to-date, it has fared better than its Asian counterparts,” said Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff.
In comparison, Singapore’s Straits Times Index dropped 11.99%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index 14.47%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index 15.36%, China’s Shanghai-A Index 10.33% and India’s BSE Sensex 30 Index 15.11%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gave up its early gains to close 2.3% lower at 23,539 points in volatile trading. The index had risen to just shy of 25,000 points less than two hours before the closing bell.
In Singapore, the Straits Times Index jumped 2.3% on news that China signed an agreement to allow its banks to channel funds into the Singapore stock market.
Elsewhere, banking stocks continued to head north to lift share indices in Japan, South Korea and Australia.
In New York, Reuters reported that the Dow Jones industrial average was up 83.00 points, or 0.68%, at 12,353.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 12.10 points, or 0.90% , at 1,350.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 41.68 points, or 1.80%, at 2,358.09.
In Paris, Bloomberg reported that European stocks gained the most since 2003 as talks to bail out bond insurers, rising profits at Nokia Oyj and China’s economic growth boosted expectations that equity markets would weather a slowdown in the United States.