KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 ― Bursa Malaysia reversed yesterday’s losses to open higher today on better market sentiment following encouraging international tourist arrivals following the reopening of the country's borders on April 1, an analyst said. It was reported that about 500,000 international tourists have entered Malaysia since last week, and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry was confident that the target of two million tourist arrivals could be achieved by year-end.

At 9.05am, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) increased 5.59 points or 0.36 per cent to 1,555.00 from yesterday’s close of 1,549.41.

The benchmark index opened 2.97 points higher at 1,552.38.

On broader market, gainers led losers 176 to 105, while 190 counters were unchanged, 1,810 untraded, and 22 others suspended.

Turnover stood at 110.88 million units worth RM53.40 billion.

However, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said investors may remain cautious over the near term as current market sentiment could be exacerbated by the ongoing volatility on Wall Street.

Wall Street closed lower on rising concerns over the impact of persistently high inflation and erosion of corporate margins going forward, the research firm said in a note today.

“On a side note, Indonesia’s move to lift its ban on palm oil export could bring a relief to global market and lower the crude palm oil (CPO) price. However, plantation stocks may face selling pressure following this news.

“Meanwhile, investors may focus further on the banking sector in anticipation of firmer earnings that bode well under the interest rate hike environment,” it said.

At the point of writing, the CPO is priced around RM6,000, while crude oil price remained firm above US$112 per barrel.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank and CIMB gained one sen to RM8.99 and RM5.05, respectively, Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals improved four sen each to RM4.61 and RM10.06, respectively, while IHH Healthcare was flat at RM6.58.

Of the actives, Serba Dinamik, SMTrack and TWL Holdings were flat at 14.5 sen, 8.5 sen and 7.5 sen, respectively, while Techna-X rose half-a-sen to six sen and ARB added one sen to 12.5 sen. Among the top losers, Petronas Gas dropped 34 sen to RM17.02, Khind Holding down 20 sen to RM3.10, Sarawak Oil Palms decreased 14 sen to RM5.58, KL Kepong deducted 10 sen to RM26.80, and IOI Corporation was eight sen lower to RM4.31. On the index board, the FBM ACE fell 8.57 points to 5,279.60, while the FBM Emas Shariah Index rose 26.40 points to 11,497.12, the FBM Emas Index improved 38.26 points to 11,084.53, the FBMT 100 Index bagged 38.09 points to 10,759.42, and the FBM 70 strengthened 44.19 points to 13,140.06.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index was 1.04 points higher at 198.13, the Financial Services Index advanced 77.62 points to 16,671.33, while the Plantation Index slid 48.19 points to 8,189.14. ― Bernama