KLCI pares gains, ringgit halts slide against USD

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22): The FBM KLCI pared some of its gains at the midday break on Thursday while the ringgit snapped a three-day loss against the US dollar.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 9.88 points to 1,779.97. The index had earlier risen to its intra-morning high of 1,787.91.

Gainers led losers by 543 to 249, while 283 counters traded unchanged. Volume was 1.58 billion shares valued at RM1.35 billion.

The ringgit was quoted at 3.6068 versus the US dollar, as overnight crude oil prices stabilised.

The top gainers in the morning session on Bursa Malaysia included Petronas Gas Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Amway (M) Holdings Bhd, Coastal Contracts Bhd, Encorp Bhd, Tahps Group Bhd, British American Tobacco (M) Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Eco World Development Group Bhd and Genting Bhd.

KNM Group Bhd was the most actively traded counter with 66.15 million shares done. The stock rose 6.54% or 3.5 sen to 57 sen.

The other actives included Sumatec Resources Bhd, Minetech Resources Bhd, The Media Shoppe Bhd, Daya Materials Holdings Bhd, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi Bhd and Iris Corporation Bhd.

The losers included PPB Group Bhd, Lafarge Malaysia Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Muda Holdings Bhd, Concrete Engineering Products Bhd, UMW Holdings Bhd and LPI Capital Bhd.

Asian shares held near eight-week highs on Thursday as investors bet on the likely size and scope of a bond-buying programme the European Central Bank is poised to unveil later in the day in an attempt to revive the flagging euro zone economy, according to Reuters.

The euro was quieter ahead of the ECB decision after the previous day's wide ranges, while the Canadian dollar stole the spotlight after plunging to a nearly six-year low following the Bank of Canada's surprise move to slash its overnight rate to help cushion the economy from recently plunging oil prices, it said.

Maybank IB head of retail research and chief chartist Lee Cheng Hooi in a note to clients Thursday said the FBM KLCI rose 19.98 points to 1,770.09 yesterday, while the FBMEMAS and FBM100 also closed higher by 120.09 points and 116.13 points, respectively.

He said in terms of market breadth, the gainer-to-loser ratio was 560-to-288 while 278 counters were unchanged, adding that a total of 2.16 billion shares were traded valued at RM2.45 billion.

“We recommend a “Buy on Dips” stance for the index. The KLCI Jan Futures moved into a 0.91-point premium against the FBM KLCI. We expect minor buying at the supports of 1,745 to 1,770, whilst some profit taking would be at the resistances of 1,772 and 1,805.

“The index will be volatile after heavy foreign selling emerged in Nov and the index plunged to a fresh low of 1,671.82 on 17 Dec.

“The rebound to 1,770.09 yesterday may have negated medium-term bearishness to 1,630. In view of the volatile and weaker DJIA trend at lofty levels, it will be very wise to range trade the FBM KLCI between stipulated supports and resistances, with a more positive bias,” he said.