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Stocks

Rating upgrade lifts AirAsia to new heights

AirAsia has seen profit soar due to higher passenger traffic and cheaper fuel. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

SINGAPORE -- Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia topped year-to-date highs for a second straight session in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the day after a banking giant upgraded its investment rating.

The stock closed up 4.5% at 2.32 ringgit (58 cents), the highest in just over a year. It has gained more than 70% so far in 2016.

Maybank Investment Bank Research raised AirAsia's rating from "hold" to "buy" on improved earnings thanks to lower fuel prices and other factors. It also lifted the target share price from 1.8 ringgit to 2.5 ringgit.

Long-haul counterpart AirAsia X climbed 3.8% to a 14-month high of 0.41 ringgit on Tuesday. It has more than doubled since the end of 2015.

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