KLCI, Asian markets rise on US interest rate outlook

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 9): The FBM KLCI and Asian stocks rose following overnight gains in US equities. Global markets climbed on expectation that the US Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low amid weaker world economic prospects.

Malaysia's KLCI rose 1.45 points or 0.1% to 1,825.77 at 9.03am on gains in stocks like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd.

Analysts expect the Malaysian stock market to remain uncertain in the short term despite US equities' overnight gains.

BIMB Securities Sdn Bhd wrote in a note today investors were mindful of global factors like the Ebola outbreak and International Monetary Fund's world economic growth forecast downgrade. Both factors could hurt market sentiment.

"We expect the local market to remain lackluster in the short term due to lack of fresh catalysts with the index hovering in the region of 1,820-25," BIMB Securities said.

Across Bursa Malaysia, some 94 million shares worth RM38 million changed hands. There were 256 gainers versus 41 decliners.

The top gainer was United Plantations Bhd while the leading decliner was SP Setia Bhd.

The most-active stock was Flonic Hi-Tec Bhd.

Asian markets rose. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.9% while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi is closed for a holiday today.

Bloomberg reported that Asian stocks rose for a third day this week as Federal Reserve concerns over a global economic slowdown spurred bets that U.S. interest rates will remain low.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to 138.81 as of 9:02 a.m. in Tokyo, before markets open in Hong Kong and China. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent after the underlying gauge yesterday surged the most this year.

Slowing global growth and a stronger dollar pose potential risks to the U.S. outlook, Fed policy makers said at their September meeting, according to the minutes released yesterday.