Bursa slightly higher as regional sentiment and crude oil prices rise

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI was slightly higher at noon as investors grafted on Wall Street optimism following the US Federal Reserve’s announcement of its policy stance.

At 12:30 pm, the key index was up 2.23 points to 1,485.04, indicating a cautious buy despite a regional rally in sentiment.

The bank led the index higher as rate hikes reported by the Fed confirmed global economic growth and rising lending costs.

Maybank gained two sen to RM 8.12, Public Bank rose one sen to RM 4.02, CIMB gained five sen to RM 5.21, and Hong Leong Bank climbed 26 sen to RM 18.38.

The Fed’s move also helped support crude oil prices, pushing Brent crude up 0.88% to US $ 74.28 per barrel.

The Bursa Malaysia energy index followed suit, rising 1.64% to 682.82.

Petronas Chemicals rose six sen to RM 8.67 due to higher commodity prices while shipping company MISC gained five sen to RM 3.66.

Meanwhile, main market newbie Aurelius Technologies finished at noon 44 sen or 32.35% higher at RM 1.80.

The industrial electronics maker hit an intra-morning high of RM 1.83 and is the second most actively traded stock on Bura with 144.45 million shares traded.

The most traded share was ATA IMS, going from two sen to 71.5 sen with 202.37 million shares trading hands.

Meanwhile, Asian markets rallied following the Fed’s announcement, which was as expected, paving the way for investors to define their investment strategies for the coming year.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.7% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2%.

The main Chinese index rose 0.3%, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8% on news that the United States was adding more Chinese tech companies to its blacklist.

Australia’s ASX200 fell 0.4%.

Steve R. Hansen