KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 13): The FBM KLCI rose 1.5% or 24.65 points to 1,636.69, lifted by bargain hunting, as measures seen as containing the coronavirus pandemic as well as ensuring political stability were put in place in the form of the second round of the movement control order (MCO 2.0) as well as the proclamation of the state of emergency.
The KLCI closed near its intraday high of 1,637.31, mainly driven by the banking index, with Public Bank Bhd leading the charge.
Public Investment Bank Bhd head of research Ching Weng Jin told The Edge that the market may progressively go higher on anticipation of Covid-19 vaccines and an improved economy.
“I suppose investors realised that the state of emergency and the MCO 2.0 are not as bad as they thought, thus they returned to the market again,” he said.
According to him, the declaration of the state of emergency actually lessened political uncertainties, while the MCO 2.0 is not as strict as the previous one, with business activities allowed to continue.
Ching also opined that foreign investors, which were net buyers last Friday, may continue to invest in Malaysia as political stability returns.
Across Bursa Malaysia today, the sentiment was positive with gainers leading losers by 950 to 348, while 308 counters traded unchanged.
Meanwhile, 7.12 billion securities were traded for RM5.11 billion, compared with 8.41 billion securities worth RM5.76 billion yesterday.
Technology and banking stocks were among the top gainers today.
The Technology Index advanced 3.71% to 72.31, while the Financial Services Index climbed 3.57% to 15,065.74.
Public Bank, which was the top gainer on the local bourse, was also the key driver of the benchmark index today. The counter soared RM1.32 or 6.57% to RM21.40.
Other banking counters that saw bargain hunting included CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (up 15 sen or 3.83% to RM4.07) and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), which was 30 sen or 3.75% higher at RM8.30.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd surged 82 sen or 3.05% to RM27.68, making it the second top gainer. KESM Industries Bhd (up 58 sen or 3.86% to RM15.60) and ViTrox Corp Bhd (up 54 sen or 3.75% to RM14.94) were also among the top gainers.
The top loser today was led by Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd, which shed 60 sen or 0.43% to RM138.90.
Glove counters also saw some profit taking, with Hartalega Holdings Bhd falling 14 sen or 1.07% to RM13. Top Glove Corp Bhd was five sen or 0.75% lower at RM6.63, while Supermax Corp Bhd declined by 19 sen or 2.6% to RM7.11.
Most regional bourses ended higher today.
Reuters reported that Asian stocks rose today, tracking modest Wall Street gains, as expectations that vaccines will eventually win the battle against the coronavirus fuelled recovery hopes, while tight supply expectations pushed oil prices to a one-year high.
The Nikkei 225 closed 1.04% higher at 28,456.59. South Korea’s KOSPI ended 0.71% higher at 3,148.29. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, however, closed 0.15% lower at 28,235.60.