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Bursa stays above 1,750 at mid-afternoon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Bursa Malaysia was higher at mid-afternoon today, with the benchmark index staying above the 1,750-level, as market sentiment was lifted by bullish regional bourses.

At 3pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) stood at 1,752.22, up 2.81 points from yesterday's close of 1,749.41.

Earlier, the index opened 0.01 of-a-point higher at 1,749.42.

On the broader market, decliners outpaced gainers by 451 to 446 with 369 counters unchanged, 456 untraded and 16 others were suspended.

Turnover was at 3.18 billion shares worth RM1.75 billion.

A dealer said most Southeast Asian stock markets rose today on prospects of a less hawkish US Federal Reserve policy trajectory.

“On the local front, the market sentiment was lifted following Maybank Kim Eng Group's statement, saying that the FBM KLCI will likely hit the 1,800-level this year, supported by fundamentals and attractive valuation,” he said.

Among heavyweights, Maybank rose seven sen to RM8.97, Public Bank and TNB eased four sen each to RM20.10 and RM13.68, while Sime Darby fell one sen to RM9.29.

Of the actives, Olympia Industries was half-a-sen lower at 18.5 sen, Managepay Systems added four sen to 27.5 sen and Tanco gained two sen to 11.5 sen.

The FBM Emas Index gained 18.21 points to 12,386.95, FBMT 100 Index rose 15.32 points to 12,038.91 and the FBM 70 Index was 3.22 points better at 14,395.52.

The FBM Emas Shariah Index rose 22.55 points to 12,774.86 but the FBM Ace decreased 6.37 points to 5,605.51.

On a sectoral basis, the Finance Index improved 34.45 points to 15,823.67, Plantation Index fell 0.65 of-a-point to 8,202.77 and the Industrial Index was 3.36 points higher at 3,282.33. — Bernama

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