KUALA LUMPUR: The local bourse continued its rally on Monday morning as Asian markets opened higher on optimism over Wall Street’s bullish start to the new year.

Analysts believe fund managers could be looking to rotate into equity markets that are playing catch-up, such as Malaysia, which is trailing the MSCI Emerging Markets Index by a very wide margin.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 6.29 points to 1,824.26 points. Turnover was 3.74 billion shares with a value of RM1.95bil. There were 479 gainers versus 263 decliners with 649 counters unchanged.

Oil and gas counters lifted the market with Petronas Gas gaining 96 sen to RM19.32 while Petronas Dagangan rose 60 sen to RM25.30.

Petronas Chemicals, however, dipped five sen to RM8.10.

On the wider market, UMW Oil & Gas gained 3.5 sen to 44.5 sen while Sapura Energy

 rose six sen to 87 sen.

Making its debut on the ACE Market today was Binasat Communications, which debuted at 60 sen, or 14 sen higher than its issue price.

Among heavy lifters on the KLCI, Tenaga Nasional added 14 sent to RM15.56 while Hong Leong Bank put on 48 sen to RM17.68. Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 22 sen to RM25.10.

Genting stocks slipped, with Genting down seven sen to RM9.55 and Genting Malaysia dropping six sen to RM5.74.

Decliners on Bursa Malaysia included Lafarge Malaysia, which fell 13 sen to RM6.15; Aeon Credit

, which dropped 12 sen to RM13.64; and UOA Development, which fell 12 sen to RM2.33.

In commodities, oil prices rose on a declien in the number of US rigs drilling for new production, Reuters reported. WTI crude gained 15 cents to US$61.59 a barrel while Brent crude gained 12 cents to US$67.74 a barrel.

The ringgit strengthened further against major currencies, moving up 0.41% to 2.9996 against the Singapore dollar. It gained 0.23% against the greenback to 3.988 and firmed up slightly against the pound sterling at 5.4082.- thestaronline

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