Published: Thursday February 28, 2013 MYT 5:56:00 PM

Strong close for blue chips in February

By Joseph Chin

KUALA LUMPUR: Market sentiment perked up on Thursday, supported by fund buying of banking stocks CIMB, Public Bank, UMW and BAT, pushing the FBM KLCI to a firmer close.

At the close, the KLCI was up 13.49 points or 0.83% to 1,637.63. For the month, the index was up about two points after falling below the key 1,600 earlier.

Turnover improved to 1.01 billion shares valued at RM1.97bil. There were 394 gainers, 283 losers and 300 stocks unchanged.

Key regional markets and European bourses were also higher. European shares, the euro and commodities edged higher on Thursday as sentiment improved across riskier asset markets but concerns over the political stalemate in Italy limited gains, according to Reuters.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.71% to 11,559.36; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 1.96% to 23,020.27; Shanghai's Composite Index gained 2.26% to 2,365.59 and Taiwan's Taiex 0.22% to 7,897.98 while South Korea's Kospi was 1.12% higher and Singapore's Straits Times Index advanced 0.27% to 3,269.95.

At Bursa Malaysia, CIMB gained nine sen to RM7.20 and gave the KLCI a 1.54 point push while Public Bank rallied 14 sen to RM16.12, nudging the index 1.52 points. Maybank gained three sen to RM9.15. HLFG was up 34 sen to RM14.34.

Among the consumer stocks, BAT surged RM2.76 to RM61, Dutch Lady RM1.60 to RM46 while GAB added 22 sen to RM16.72.

UMW rose 50 sen to RM12.80, Genting Malaysia 13 sen to RM3.70 and Genting seven sen to RM9.47.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures fell RM18 to RM2,302. United Plantations fell RM1 to RM26.70.

Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB) fell 13 sen to 53 sen with 33.45 million shares done. This was sharply below the takeover price of 76 sen offered by Kumpulan Darul Ehsan.

Ingress's rally hit a speed bump, falling nine sen to RM1.50 after surging to multi-year highs.

The ringgit strengthened to 3.0903 to the US dollar from 3.1005.

US light crude oil fell 21 cents to US$92.55 but Brent rose 28 cents to US$112.15. Spot gold fell US$4.83 to US$1,592.27.

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