Public Bank, whose four-for-one bonus issue will go ex on Jan 26, rallied RM1.32 to RM21.40 with 9.83 million shares done. This was the highest close since Dec 18. KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia closed broadly higher on Wednesday with 950 counters in the positive zone. Public Bank was the top gainer while other banks rode on its coattails. At 5pm, the FBM KLCI was up 24.65 points or 1.53% to 1,636,69. Turnover was 7.12 billion shares valued at RM5.10bil. Advancers beat decliners 2.7 to one or 950 gainers to 348 losers and 308 counters unchanged. Investors took heart the Movement Control Order 2.0 which came into effect on Wednesday would have less an adverse economic impact unlike the first round in mid-March last year, as important economic and financial sectors would remain open. However, it would not be smooth sailing. StarBiz Online reported the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered MCO 2.0 in Malaysia, has once again cast the spotlight on rising unemployment. Malaysia has to deal with 764,400 currently unemployed and possibly around one million new entrants to the job market. Public Bank, whose four-for-one bonus issue will go ex on Jan 26, rallied RM1.32 to RM21.40 with 9.83 million shares done. This was the highest close since Dec 18. Maybank rose 30 sen to RM8.30, Hong Leong Bank 26 sen to RM17.76, CIMB 15 sen to RM4.07, RHB Bank 14 sen to RM5.47. Genting ended 13 sen higher at RM4.26, Tenaga eight sen to RM10.20, MISC seven sen to RM6.71 and GentingM six sen to RM2.49. As for plantations, KL Kepong gained eight sen to RM24.66, PPB Group six sen to RM19.02, IOI Corp unchanged RM4.50 and Sime Plantation flat at RM5.20. US light crude oil rose 33 cents to US$53.54 and Brent 30 cents to US$56.88. Petronas Chemicals added 22 sen to RM7.42, Dialog three sen to RM3.30 but Petronas Daganagan lost 28 sen to RM21.02 and Petronas Gas shed two sen to RM16.58. As for telcos, Telekom was down 14 sen to RM5.50, Digi one sen to RM4.07 but Maxis added one sen to RM5.05 and Axiata two sen to RM3.70. Semicon and tech-related stocks fared well with KESM up 58 sen to RM15.60, Vitrox 54 sen to RM14.94, Pentamaster 43 sen to RM5.60 and Unisem 39 sen to RM6.67. As for glove makers, investors took some profit as Supermax lost 19 sen to RM7.11, Hartalega 14 sen to RM13, Kossan eight sen to RM4.48 and Top Glove five sen to RM6.63. AmInvestment Research is maintaining its Neutral view on the glove sector as valuations for Top Glove, Kossan and Hartalega under its coverage are already fully reflected in the companies’ earnings outlook. In its research note issued on Wednesday, it reckoned the average selling prices (ASP) will begin to ease after 1H2021 following the strong increase over the past nine months, and are already priced in. Among the key Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 1.04% and South Korea’s Kospi 0.71% but Shanghai’s Composite fell 0.27 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index shed 0.15%. The ringgit was quoted at 4.0438 against the US dollar. Reuters reported the MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was up 0.2%, edging back towards all-time highs, and MSCI's main European Index was up by a similar amount. Emerging market stocks were on the cusp of a record high on Wednesday, while currency markets remained wary of more dollar strength, despite an overnight drop in US Treasury yields and the greenback. MSCI's index of emerging market stocks rose 0.6%, trading about three points below a record high hit on Monday. Low lending rates and the prospect of more stimulus measures have seen equities offering relatively high returns among risk-driven assets.
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