KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank and Axiata, which reported firmer earnings and dividends, helped drive the FBM KLCI slightly higher at midday on Friday amid the weaker regional markets.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 1.91 points to 1,651.96. Turnover was 394.79 million shares valued RM640.93mil. There were 238 gainers, 270 losers and 277 counters unchanged.
Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 11,331.59 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.13% to 2,017.79.
However, reports that Europe's recession was deepening and on concern China will do more to control economic growth also weighed on sentiment.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.27% to 22,844.66; Shanghai's Composite Index shed 0.02% to 2,325.53 and Taiwan's Taiex was marginally lower by 0.01% to 7,956.87 and Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.13% to 2,017.79.
Maybank KE Research said in its technical market outlook that Wall Street's weaker tone last night would weigh on the market's advance and the local index could decline on persistent liquidation and profit-taking activities ahead of the weekend.
Maybank rose 10 sen to RM9.03 and gave the KLCI a much needed 1.888 point boost, HL Bank gained eight sen to RM14.48 while AMMB and RHB Cap were two sen higher to RM6.29 and RM7.68.
Among consumer stocks, Nestle gained 58 sen to RM59.28 and Carlsberg 26 sen to RM12.52.
Genting Malaysia rose five sen to RM3.61 and Aixta three sen RM6.36
Smaller capitalised counters which were among the gainers were Hup Seng, up 22 sen to RM3.26 and Ingress 14 sen to RM1.38.
Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM15 to RM2,551. PPB Group fell eight sen to RM12.30 and KLK two sen lower at RM20.58.
PetChem fell eight sen to RM6.21 and PetGas six sen lower at RM18.16.
The ringgit was firmer against the US dollar at 3.0990 versus 3.1104. US light crude oil gained 40 cents to US$93.24 and Brent 57 cents to US$114.10 while spot glold gained US$7.23 to US$1,583.50.