Investors stay bullish at midday as rate hike hopes lift sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI maintained its strong lead at midday as investors latched on to positive sentiment in US markets amid hopes the US Federal Reserve will signal an end to aggressive rate hikes at its upcoming Open Market Committee meeting.

At 12.30pm, Malaysia’s benchmark index was up 16.69 points to 1,464. There were 459 gainers on the markte compared with 274 decliners.

Trading volume was 1.79 billion shares valued at RM880.47mil.

The jump in equities prices was in line with the broader regional trend, as Asian stock markets rose cautiously on hopes of a less hawkish tone from the US central bank.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.6% to 27,574, South Korea’s Kospi gained 1% to 2,290 while China’s composite index was unchanged at 2,914.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng meanwhile climbed 0.9% to 14,995 and Australia’s ASX200 added 1.1% to 6,860.

Back homes, bank stocks were up on expectation that Bank Negara will further raise the overnight policy rate later this week. Maybank was up two sen to RM8.60, Public bank rose nine sen to RM4.47, CIMB gained three sen to RM5.59, Hong Leong Bank climbed 10 sen to RM21.24 and RHB put on three sen to RM5.72.

Tenaga Nasional gained nine sen to RM8.44, Press Metal rose four sen to RM4.39 and Sime Darby Plantation gained 12 sen to RM4.47.

Among top actives, CSH was unchanged at 3.5 sen, MMAG was flat at 2.5 sen and Top Glove rose two sen to 81 sen.

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