KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets were mostly higher at the midday break on March 31 on renewed investors’ hopes that a proposed stimulus plan by Japan could help reduce the impact of the global financial crisis. At Bursa Malaysia, gains in Maybank whose rights shares go ex, helped lift the KL Composite Index into the positive zone. There was some nibbling on big cap stocks after the previous day’s selldown. At 12.30pm, the KLCI rose 2.79 points or 0.32% to 872.13. Turnover was 157.56 million shares valued at RM247.96 million. There were 180 gainers, 128 losers and 145 stocks unchanged. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.17% to 8,222.49 ahead of the announced of a stimulus package later. Hong Kong’s Hang seng Index rose 0.,3% to 13,496.10, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.9% to 1,688.19 but Shanghai’s Composite Index losat 0.44% to 2,347.76. Light crude oil rose 77 cents to US$49.18 and crude palm oil futures added RM19 to RM1,989. The ringgit was quoted at RM3.6495 to the US dollar. However, despite mild gains in the morning session despite the fall on Wall Street, investors could be quick to lock in gains in the afternoon. BAT rose 25 sen to RM45.50 while IJM, YTL and Genting rose 10 sen each to RM4.16, RM7 and RM3.78 respectively. TMI added four sen to RM2.25. Maybank rose 16 sen to RM3.82 and Public Bank 10 sen to RM7.55 while BCHB added five sen to RM6.95 but Hong Leong Bank lost 10 sen to RM5.35. Resorts was the most active with 12.1 million shares done, rising seven sen to RM2.15. Plantations fell after a downgrade, with KL Kepong down 30 sen to RM10.40, Sime Darby 10 sen to RM5.65 and IOI Corp four sen to RM3.86.
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