KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): The FBM KLCI pared earlier gains to eke out a 0.1% rise at the noon break as investors capitalised on the rebound of the benchmark to lock in gains while pre-election sentiment continued to dominate trading.
At 12.30pm, the KLCI had risen 2.05 points to 1,639.18, helped mainly by plantation stocks PPB Group Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd. The benchmark had opened at 1,645.02. The market was closed on Monday for a public holiday.
There were 202 gainers and 363 losers, with 542.95 million shares worth RM720.51 million transacted. PPB was the top gainer while British American Tobacco (M) Bhd was the leading loser. The most active counter was The Media Shoppe Bhd.
From a technical viewpoint, analysts said that although there was fresh buying interest, sellers still had an upper hand in dictating the direction of the KLCI.
Alliance Research Sdn Bhd analyst Teoh Chang Yeow said 23% of market participation was seen to be on the buying side for the week ended last Friday. "Based on the studies of internal market play, the FBM KLCI would be making attempt to trade below the 1,602.12 level in the week ending Jan 31, 2013," Teoh wrote in a note today. Market support is seen at 1,600 points, he added.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.97%, South Korea's Kospi increased 0.85% and Australia's ASX200 added 1.03%. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.04%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.04%.
Reuters reported that Asian shares rose on Tuesday as recent selling drew bargain hunters, but investors were cautious ahead of more US economic reports and a Federal Reserve policy decision later in the week that may offer clues to the Fed's stimulus plans.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.7% to snap a four-day losing streak, led by a 1.1% jump in Australian shares to a fresh 21-month high on gains in financial stocks.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index eased slightly on Monday after an eight-day winning run but held above 1,500 points, after closing above that level on Friday for the first time in more than five years.
Risk appetite has been improving overall with US earnings generally solid. A rise in a gauge of planned US business spending in December added to a recent run of positive global economic data, along with signs of easing financial stress in the eurozone. Eurozone blue chips touched fresh 18-month peaks on Monday.
More solid US growth indicators would, however, fuel speculation the Fed may consider pulling back on aggressive easing stimulus. The Fed ends a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. The first estimate of US fourth-quarter gross domestic product also will be released on Wednesday, followed by non-farm payrolls on Friday.
Analysts do not foresee a major shift in the US central bank's policy. "The FOMC will hold a two-day meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. We expect the statement is going to change very little," Jefferies chief global equity strategist Sean Darby wrote in a note.