Published: Friday March 8, 2013 MYT 5:57:00 PM

Genting rebound, fund buying of BAT push KLCI to higher close

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips closed higher on Friday, boosted by gains in Genting Bhd and BAT as market sentiment improved in the afternoon session despite a hesitant start.

The FBM KLCI managed to trend higher to cross the 1,650 level, encouraging small players to enter the market.

At the close, the KLCI rose 3.03 points or 0.18% to 1,653.96. Turnover was 786.53 million shares valued at RM1.67bil. Advancing counters led decliners 426 to 264 while 298 counters were unchanged.

Reuters reported world shares hit their highest level since June 2008 and the dollar touched a fresh 3-1/2-year high against the yen on Friday, ahead of U.S. jobs data expected to point to a continuing pick up in the world's biggest economy.

China also gave markets a boost as official data showed February exports grew 21.8% versus a year ago, more than double the expected rise.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 2.64% to 12,283.62; Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 1.41% to 23,091.95 while Taiwan's Taiex added 0.69% to 8,015.14 and South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.08% to 2,006.01.

Shanghai's Composite Index fell 0.24% to 2,318.61 and Singapore's Straits Times Index 0.27% lower at 3,289.53.

At Bursa Malaysia, Genting Bhd rose 14 sen to RM10.04 and pushed the KLCI up 1.19 points, while among the telcos, Axiata added two sen to RM6.42 and Maixs five sen to RM6.52.

Among the consumer stocks, BAT jumped RM2.70 to RM65 and gave the KLCI a 1.19 point boost. Nestle was 32 sen higher at RM60.20 and GAB 28 sen to RM17.20 but Dutch Lady lost 16 sen to RM46.

Among the finance-related stocks and banks, RHB Cap was the top gainer, adding 20 sen to RM8.20. Allianz rose 25 sen to RM8.15, AMMB three sen to RM6.36 but HL Bank fell 10 sen to RM14.38.

However, Hong Leong Capital fell 44 sen to RM22.56 after it was queried by Bursa Malaysia Securities over the surge in its share price and as a substantial shareholder decided to reduce his stake.

Cement producer Tasek added 32 sen to RM14.92 while Lafarge rose 21 sen to RM10.40.

AirAsia rose four sen to RM3 with 19 million shares done ahead of its ahead of its 18 sen per share dividend going ex on March 13.

Scomi rose two sen to 35 sen with 24.94 million shares traded after its subsidiary secured a RM2.1bil contract from Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

FACB Industries closed 12 sen higher at RM1.17 but off the day's best of RM1.28.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM12 to RM2,445 but this was not enough to give plantations the boost.

IOI Corp, Batu Kawan and United Plantations were down eight sen each to RM4.86, RM18 and RM27.30 respectively, PPB Group slipped six sen to RM12.28 and KL Kepong two sen to RM20.60.

The ringgit was firmer against the US dollar at 3.1060 versus 3.1080 the previous day.

US light crude oil edged up one cent to US$91.57 but Brent fell 13 cesnt to US$111.02.

Spot gold rose US$1.98 to US$1,580.98.

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