KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Bursa Malaysia’s benchmark index ended the morning session in positive territory, supported by gains in selected financial services and industrial products and services stocks.

At lunch break, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) rose 5.49 points to 1,616.51 from Friday’s close of 1,611.02. (The market was closed yesterday in conjunction with the national public holiday for Awal Muharram.)

The key index, which opened 6.12 points firmer at 1,617.14, moved between 1,613.56 and 1,618.02 during the trading session.

However, on the broader market, decliners led gainers 562 to 448, with 506 counters unchanged, 888 untraded and six suspended.

Turnover stood at 2.71 billion units worth RM1.78 billion.

A dealer said increased buying activity in the banking stocks was supported by optimism surrounding improved net interest margins and incomes.

The dealer said optimism on the outlook of the US interest rate also spurred interest in most regional stock markets.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.13 per cent to 41,647.90, Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.40 per cent to 3,417.95 and South Korea’s Kospi increased 0.15 per cent to 2,862.13.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd said investors will be watching the upcoming US consumer price index and producer price index data as that may dictate the interest rate directions taken by the US Federal Reserve (Fed).

“We believe the inflationary pressures have been on the declining trend and that should allow the Fed to potentially lower the interest rate in the second half of 2024,” the research firm said in a note today.

Among the Bursa Malaysia heavyweights, Tenaga Nasional climbed 18 sen to RM14.40, Public Bank increased six sen to RM4.10 and CIMB added five sen to RM7.00, while Maybank was flat at RM10.04 and IHH Healthcare fell two sen to RM6.30.

As for the most active counters, newly listed Johor Plantations Group Bhd jumped seven sen to 91 sen, Bumi Armada edged up two sen to 60 sen, K-One technology rose three sen to 32.5 sen, and Hubline and Hiap Teck were half-a-sen higher each at 7.5 sen and 48.5 sen, respectively.

On the index board, the FBM Emas Index advanced 40.87 points to 12,485.86, the FBMT 100 Index strengthened 45.66 points to 12,058.54, the FBM Emas Shariah Index added 42.62 points to 12,849.50, and the FBM 70 Index improved 87.09 points to 18,472.58.

However, the FBM ACE Index decreased 8.69 points to 5,957.62.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index surged 95.75 points to 17,699.19, the Industrial Products and Services Index notched up 0.52 of-a-point to 200.44 and the Energy Index lifted 0.96 of-a-point to 987.71, but the Plantation Index dropped 31.26 points to 6,974.38. — Bernama