KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets were higher at midday on Feb 23, with Hong Kong leading the gainers as investors turned optimistic that a possible US government move to raise its stake in Citigroup Inc. could reduce bank failure risk.EPIC was among the major gainers as investors hoped for a better offer for their shares. AZRB is seeking a revised RM2.50 from the earlier RM2.10 a share from the Terenngau Inc for its EPIC stake.At 12.30pm, the KL Composite Index was up 0.71 point to 890.42 after being in the red most of the morning session. Turnover was 122.54 million shares valued at RM147.37 million. There were 137 gainers, 176 losers and 157 stocks unchanged.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.29% or 291.26 points to 1,2990.43, Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.6% to 1,604.47 and Shanghai’s Composite Index 0.43% higher to 2,271.1 but Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.33%to 7,391.73.Light crude oil was trading above US$40 per barrel, up 23 cents to US$40.25 while crude palm oil futures added RM29 to RM1,864.Among the gainers were EPIC, up 11 sen to RM1.27 with 1.8 million shares done. CCK Consolidatated rose 18 sen to 68 sen with 2,200 shares done. M3Nergy gained 14 sen to RM1.59 while Tenaga and MISC foreign added five sen each to RM6.15 and RM8.55.KLK rose 10 sen to RM9.95, in line with firmer CPO prices but IOI Corp fell six sen to RM3.66 on concerns about its outlook after reporting a weaker set of earnings last Friday.Kian Joo was unchanged at RM1.34, off the early high of RM1.40 on news that Can-One may buy into the company. There were 2.93 million shares done.BAT was the top loser, down 50 sen to RM44 while Huat Lai gave up 26 sen to 560 sen. F&N fell 10 sen to RM7.75, ahead of the non-renewal of the contracts with The Coca-Cola Co. Inc. Public Bank-F eased 10 sen to RM9.10.
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