KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 ― Bursa Malaysia ended the morning session higher on continued buying interest in selected heavyweights, led by Press Metal Aluminum Holdings Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd and Maxis Bhd.

Press Metal gained 13 sen to RM5.21, Axiata bagged eight sen to RM3.25 and Maxis rose six sen to RM3.64.

The three stocks lifted the composite index by a total contribution of 3.935 points.

At the lunch break, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) rose 1.80 points or 0.12 per cent to 1,551.21 from yesterday’s close of 1,549.41.

The benchmark index, which opened 2.97 points higher at 1,552.38, moved between 1,551.15 and 1,558.51 throughout the morning session.

On the broader market, gainers led losers 458 to 300, while 407 counters were unchanged, 1,116 untraded, and 22 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 1.23 billion units worth RM822.06 million.

The better performance of the local bourse was in line with its regional peers, with Singapore’s Straits Times gaining 1.29 per cent to 3,231.77, China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange rising 1.11 per cent to 3,131.40, Japan’s Nikkei bagging 1.19 per cent to 26,718.24, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng increasing 1.83 per cent to 20,489.63 and South Korea’s Kospi improving 1.74 per cent to 2,637.43.

Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd equity research vice-president Thong Pak Leng said the index could remain stuck within its consolidation mode of between 1,540 and 1,555 today, as uncertainties continue to dictate sentiments.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank and Public Bank were one sen lower at RM8.97 and RM4.56 respectively, Petronas Chemicals went down three sen to RM9.99, while IHH Healthcare added two sen to RM6.60, and CIMB was flat at RM5.04.

Among the actives, Techna-X and Sapura Energy rose half-a-sen each to six sen and seven sen respectively, while Serba Dinamik and MNC Wireless were half-a-sen lower at 14 sen and two sen respectively and Widad was flat at 36 sen.

On the index board, FBM ACE improved 26.11 points to 5,314.28, FBM Emas Shariah Index increased 50.75 points to 11,521.4740, FBM Emas Index was up 32.32 points to 11,078.59, FBMT 100 Index strengthened 27.47 points to 10,748.80, and FBM 70 advanced 94.95 points to 13,190.82.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index was 1.83 points higher at 198.92, the Financial Services Index added 2.43 points to 16,596.14, while the Plantation Index dropped 50.27 points to 8,187.06. ― Bernama