KLCI up 10 points at lunch break

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KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil-related stocks spurred the Malaysian equity benchmark in positive territory till lunchbreak.

At 12.30pm, the 100-company Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) rose 1.13% or 9.98 points to settle 889.93 points. Prime movers IOI Corp Bhd put on 16 sen to RM3.84 while Sime Darby Bhd was up 15 sen to RM5.55.

On the whole, Bursa Malaysia saw a total of 172.56 million shares valued at RM266.6 million changing hands, resulting in 203 gainers, versus 135 decliners."Key support areas of 867 and 873 (points in the KLCI) may be zones to nibble but the resistance areas of 879 and 895 (points) will cap the market rebound," Maybank Investment Bank wrote in a note.

Malaysian palm oil for March rose RM27 to RM1,875 a tonne at 12.15pm in tandem with rising prices of rival crops. US soybean and corn futures climbed more than 3% yesterday (Thursday) in the US, amid concerns that the drought in Argentina would hurt production of the commodities.

Major Asian equity indices rose today (Feb 6). Notable gainers include Taiwan's Taiex which was up 2.62% or 114.46 points to 4,477.71 points, while the Philippine SE IDX gained 2.66% or 50.41 points to 1,942.48 points.

The three key US stock indices rose a night earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.34% or 106.41 points to 8,063.07 points, Nasdaq climbed 2.06% or 31.19 points to 1,546.24 points, while S&P 500 was up 1.64% or 13.62 points to 845.85 points in overnight trade.

Policymakers in the world's largest economy are expected to announce this Monday how the remaining US$350 billion (RM1.27 trillion) from the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP) will be used.

It was reported that the government may suspend or change the "mark-to-market" accounting, hence, enabling authorities to acquire bad assets from banks at below-market prices. Removing bad assets from financial institutions' balance sheets, the original aim of the TARP, will encourage lending to spur the economy.