KUALA LUMPUR (Apr 20): The FBM KLCI eked out a last minute rise as ringgit and crude oil gains supported sentiment.
At 5pm, the KLCI rose 2.8 points or 0.15% to close at 1,848.66 points, led by gains in stocks like Sime Darby Bhd and IHH Healthcare Bhd.
The ringgit strengthened against most currencies as crude oil prices rose. The ringgit appreciated against the US dollar at 3.6215 and was firmer versus the Singapore dollar at 2.6897.
Reuters reported that Brent crude was trading up 23 cents at US$63.70 by 0832 GMT, down from an intraday peak of US$64.34. U.S. crude for May delivery was up 37 cents at US$56.11 a barrel, down from an earlier high of US$56.65.
The KLCI had risen amid weak sentiment across Asian stock markets after China banned margin financing via unregulated share-trade accounts.
In China, Shanghai Composite ended 1.6% lower while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.02%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.09%
Reuters reported that China stocks surrendered early gains and dived on Monday in volatile trade as fears of a regulatory crackdown offset the central bank's boldest policy move yet to bolster the slowing economy.
Securities regulators announced on Friday they would allow fund managers to lend shares for short-selling, and ban margin financing through unregulated accounts.
In Malaysia today, analysts said China's move to cut bank reserve requirements by 100 basis points had beaten market forecast.
“It was wider than expected,” JF Apex Securities analyst Lee Cherng Wee told theedgemarkets.com.
Across Bursa Malaysia, 3.13 billion shares worth RM2.14 billion were traded. Decliners led gainers by 485 versus 346, while 313 counters were unchanged.
The top gainer was Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd while the leading decliner was British America Tobacco (M) Bhd. The most-active counter was Frontken Corp Bhd.