For­eign funds pro­pel Bursa to high­est level since Au­gust 2015

An­a­lysts ex­pect mar­ket breadth to stay high as in­vestor in­ter­est stays firm

New Straits Times - - Front Page - KUALA LUMPUR

FOR­EIGN in­sti­tu­tional buy­ing yes­ter­day pushed Bursa Malaysia to its high­est close since Au­gust 2015 to out­per­form other key Asian mar­kets.

The bench­mark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI gained 1.11 per cent, or 19 points, to close at 1,727.36 on strong in­ter­est in bank stocks as well as those linked to Gent­ing Group and Ax­i­ata Group Bhd.

An­a­lysts ex­pect mar­ket breadth to stay el­e­vated as in­vestor in­ter­est re­mains firm.

This will con­tinue to en­cour­age ro­ta­tional play as in­vestors switch to lag­gards.

They added that for­eign funds were do­ing some catch­ing-up buy­ing, given the lo­cal bourse was a lag­gard com­pared to its re­gional peers.

MIDF Re­search said for­eign­ers had bought RM1.4 bil­lion net of lo­cal shares as of Fri­day, com­pared with a net sale of RM3 bil­lion last year.

Year-to-date, the key in­dex has gained 5.22 per cent.

RHB In­vest­ment Bank Bhd chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Robert Hu­ray ex­pects liq­uid­ity to re­turn to the mar­ket this year.

“We are op­ti­mistic as we are more cer­tain of this year than last year, as the volatil­ity brought on by the United States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and Brexit (Bri­tain vot­ing to leave the Euro­pean Union) has ta­pered off,” he said af­ter an­nounc­ing the grand prize win­ner of RHB’s in­au­gu­ral “Trade & Win” cam­paign yes­ter­day.

“We will see a stronger eq­uity mar­ket this year ver­sus last year and even if the Malaysian elec­tion is called, we have al­ready priced it in,” added Hu­ray .

Banks were among the top gain­ers, with CIMB Group Hold­ings Bhd, Malayan Bank­ing Bhd (May­bank) and Pub­lic Bank Bhd lead­ing the pack.

Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vice said in a re­cent re­port that oil and gas loans made up less than four per cent of Malaysia’s six largest banks’ to­tal loan port­fo­lios at the end of last year.

By con­trast, the as­set qual­ity of the banks’ Malaysian op­er­a­tions re­mained ro­bust last year.

CIMB yes­ter­day in­creased 24 sen to RM5.46, boosted by the lat­est news that its In­done­sian op­er­a­tions may have seen the worst in terms of bad loans.

May­bank edged up nine sen to RM8.82, Pub­lic Bank gained six sen to RM19.94 and RHB Bank Bhd rose two sen to RM5.12.

Gent­ing Malaysia Bhd added 23 sen to RM5.52 and Gent­ing Bhd was 25 sen higher to RM9.41, while Ax­i­ata gained eight sen to RM4.70.

On the ex­ter­nal front, Ja­pan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.46 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng In­dex gained 0.18 per cent, Shang­hai’s Com­pos­ite In­dex gained 0.48 per cent, Hang Seng China En­ter­prise added 0.26 per cent and Sin­ga­pore’s Straits Times In­dex fell 0.04 per cent.

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