KUALA LUMPUR: The local stock exchange turned positive after flirting with negative territory in the early morning session as regional markets retraced earlier losses.
Asian markets had started Tuesday on a bearish footing on news that Washington may be considering implementing tariffs on the remaining US$257bil of Chinese goods by December.
Domestic worries have also put Bursa Malaysia on a backfoot of late with the tabling of Budget 2019 due on Friday amid reports that the Pakatan Harapan government may be considering widening the projected fiscal deficit to at least 3.5% of GDP from 2.8% previously.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI picked up 9.41 points to 1,693.14 in a sign that the oversold market may be regaining some momentum and aided by window-dressing ahead of the Budget.
Turnover was 1.17 billion shares valued at RM722.27mil. There were 341 advancers versus 338 decliners and 330 counters unchanged.
Datasonic was the most actively traded counter, jumping four sen to 34.5 sen. My EG rose four sen to RM1.17 and Hibiscus gained one sen to RM1.02.
Leading the advance on the KLCI, heavyweights Tenaga Nasional added 28 sen to RM14.38 while Maybank put on 12 sen to RM9.39.
IOI rose 11 sen to RM4.54, MISC gained 21 sen to RM6.12 and Petronas Chemicals gained six sen to RM9.37.
Sliding lower, Nestle lost RM1.10 to RM143.90, IHH dropped six sen to RM5 and Petronas Gas slipped two sen to RM18.06.
Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday with WTI crude rising 15 cents to US$67.19 a barrel and Brent crude dropping 18 cents to US$77.16 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit has little changed against the US dollar at 4.1805. It was also stable against the pound sterling at 5.3530 and Singapore dollar at 3.0222.