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Friday, 21 April 2017 | MYT 5:38 PM

Maybank helps power KLCI to highest close since May 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank and Genting Malaysia helped power the FBM KLCI to the highest since May 2015 as following a positive outlook on Bursa Malaysia after Morgan Stanley initiated Malaysia's stock market at overweight.

At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 14.44 points or 0.83% to 1,756.05 ahead of the long weekend.  Turnover rose to 3.12 billion shares valued at RM2.65bil. Advancers beat decliners nearly two to one or 588 gainers to 320 losers and 386 counters unchanged.

The intra-day high of 1,759.76 was on March 29 this year.

Most of the key Asian markets ended higher except for Hong Kong. Hong Kong stocks edged lower in thin trading on Friday, as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the first round of a tight French presidential election on Sunday, Reuters reported.

The ringgit weakened against the US dollar but rose against the other currencies. It slipped to 4.3995 against the US dollar from 4.3983, it advanced against the pound sterling to 5.6296 from 5.6466; climbed against the Singaporedollar to 3.1471 from 3.1495 and gained against the euro to 4.7139 from 4.7387.

CNBC reported Morgan Stanley stating the positive indicators were a possible general election either in September or October, increased infrastructure spending, commodity recovery,  company earnings were also poised for recovery, construction companies' "peak" order book levels, and a "cheap and supported" currency.

Maybank rose 32 sen to RM9.40 and powered the KLCI up 5.55 points, while CIMB added 11 sen to RM5.61 and pushed the index up 1.65 points. AmBank rose 14 sen to RM5.17, Public Bank rose four sen to RM19.96 and RHB Bank added two sen to RM5.30.

Genting Malaysia added 39 sen to RM5.98 and nudged the KLCI up 3.93 points, Genting Bhd four sen higher at RM9.74 but Tenaga fell six sen to RM13.74.

Oil prices edged lower on Friday, on course for the biggest weekly drop in a month, over doubts that an Opec-led production cut will restore balance to an oversupplied market, Reuters said. WTI was flat at US$50.71 and Brent up two cents to US$53.01.

Petronas Gas added six sen to RM18.40, Petronas Chemicals rose three sen to RM7.55 while Petronas Dagangan was flat at RM24.

Crude palm oil for third month delivery rose RM22 to RM2,526 per tonne. KL Kepong added 10 sen to RM24.32, Sime and IOI Corp one sen higher at RM9.27 and RM4.54 while PPB Group was flat at RM16.90.

As for telcos, Maxis ended five sen to RM6.44, Digi and Telekom two sen higher at RM5.17 and RM6.48 while Axiata shed one sen to RM5.06.

Among the consumer stocks, F&N added 28 sen to RM25.18, Ajinomoto 20 sen higher at RM17.98. BAT was the top loser, down 54 sen to RM46.52 after reported a weaker set of results. Apollo lost 14 sen to RM5.01.

Burn-in tester KESM was the top gainer, up 52 sen to RM12.54, riding on the positive outlook for semiconductors.

Eversafe Rubber, which made its debut on the ACE Market, rose five sen to 41 sen with 73.7 million shares done.

Perwaja tumbled 3.5 sen to two sen with 46.5 million shares ahead of an impending suspension and de-listing.

Among the key regional markets,

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.03% to 18,620.75;

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index shed 0.06% to 24,042.02;

CSI 300 added 0.13% to 3,466.71;

Shanghai’s Composite Index edged up 0.03% to 3,173.15;

Hang Seng China Enterprise shed 0.06% to 10,050.02;

Taiwan’s Taiex added 0.88% to 9,717.41;

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.74% to 2,165.04 and

Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.06% to 3,139.83.

Spot gold fell 47 cents to US$1,281.44.