(Updated)

KLCI up at midday, led by banking stocks

KLCI up at midday, led by banking stocks
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 20): Bursa Malaysia's barometer index clawed back some losses at midday, led by heavyweights such as Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG), but in the broader market, losers were ahead of gainers.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI settled 3.82 points higher at 1,604.11 from yesterday's close at 1,600.29.

The benchmark index opened 0.14 of a point higher at 1,600.43 today, and moved between 1,591.83 and 1,605.10 in the morning session.

The overall market breadth remained negative, with losers outpacing gainers 531 to 418, while 431 counters were unchanged, 786 untraded and seven others suspended.

Total volume stood at 4.45 billion shares worth RM2.16 billion.

Most of the heavyweights also regained some traction, with only seven counters in the red, as investors piled into recent beaten-down counters, such as financial, energy, plantation, telecommunications and construction.

An analyst said regional markets were also mixed amid negative cues taken from Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei dropped more than 2% to 29,057.13, the Hang Seng Index was flat at 29,105.73, and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.29% to 3,487.60.

Meanwhile, oil prices recovered amid a weaker US dollar.

On the local front, Maybank increased five sen to RM8.33, CIMB was four sen higher at RM4.28, and HLFG added 20 sen to RM16.96. Axiata Group Bhd expanded 12 sen to RM3.91, Genting Bhd inched up 16 sen to RM4.92, and MISC Bhd was 13 sen better at RM6.81.

Among the active counters, Censof Holdings Bhd went up nine sen at 52.5 sen, Key Asic Bhd inched up 1.5 sen to 19 sen, and Sedania Innovator Bhd lost 9.5 sen to 30.5 sen.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index added 22.58 points to 11,809.78, the FBMT 100 increased 23.73 points to 11,468.81, and the FBM 70 improved 18.65 points to 15,605.74.

The FBM Emas Shariah edged up 1.24 points to 13,212.17, while the FBM ACE was 43.88 points higher at 8,614.06.

Sector-wise, the Plantation Index rose by 0.80 of a point to 6,867.03, the Financial Services Index gained 62.62 points to 15,090.12, and the Industrial Products and Services Index was 0.93 of a point weaker at 195.271.