KUALA LUMPUR: A surge in the share prices of Axiata Group Bhd and Bhd following the approval from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on the proposed merger sent the FBM KLCI higher at midday.

At 12.30 pm, the index added 0.85 of-a-point, or 0.06% to 1,455.59, with 12 of the KLCI component stocks ending higher.

Digi jumped 15 sen, 4.62% to RM3.40, adding 1.7418 points to the index while Axiata surged 14 sen, or 4.98% to RM2.95, nudging the index higher by 1.9188 points.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the telcos said they received a notice of no objection from MCMC to proceed with the proposed merger of Celcom’s and Digi’s telco operations (MergeCo).

The merger could result in the creation of the largest mobile service operator in Malaysia. Digi and Celcom are currently the second and third largest mobile service operators in the country, MCMC said.

Other gainers among the component stocks include Petronas Gas, which added 10 sen to RM16.56, Hartalega, which gained seven sen to RM2.72 and Tenaga rose seven sen to RM8.03.

On the broader market, F&N rose 32 sen to RM21.30, Hong Leong Industries added 16 sen to RM8.90 and QL advanced 14 sen to RM5.35.

Nestle tumbled RM1.40 to RM134, MPI shed 68 sen to RM28.12 and BLD Plantation fell 40 sen to RM15.70.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 491.27 points, or 1.56%, to 30,946.99. The S&P 500 dropped 2.01% to 3,821.55, and the Nasdaq Composite was the laggard, down 3% to 11,181.54.

Mercury Securities expects Malaysian equities to remain volatile despite the rebound yesterday due to uncertainties surrounding the global economy.

TA Securities said trading is expected to stay choppy as nagging doubts over inflation and the drag from aggressive interest rate hikes creep in to dampen the global growth outlook.

“On the index, key chart support stays at 1,427, last Thursday's intra-day low, which must hold to prevent a further selloff to the next crucial support seen at 1,394, the 38.2%FR level.

“The next critical support below will be 1,323, which is the 23.6%FR level. Immediate overhead resistance will be 1,480, and then the 1,500 psychological level, with 1,520, 1,540 and 1,570 as tougher upside hurdles,” TA Securities said.

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