KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia joined the key Asian markets to advance in early Thursday trade as investor sentiment was galvanised by the rally on Wall Street.
At 9.20am, it was up 8.43 points or 0.5% to 1,692.54. Turnover was 233.85 million shares valued at RM119.75mil. There were 217 gainers, 97 losers and 197 counters unchanged.
Asia stocks rose to a four-month high, tracking Wall Street, after the Federal Reserve pledged to be patient with further interest rate hikes, signalling a potential end to its tightening cycle amid signs of slowing global growth.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose to its highest since Oct. 4 and was last up 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.4%. Australian stocks added 0.4%, while South Korea's KOSPI advanced 0.7%.
Chinese factory activity contracted for a second straight month in January, data showed, pointing to further strains on the economy that could heighten risks to global growth, Reuters reported.
The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) ticked up fractionally to 49.5, but remained below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
Nestle rose 50 sen to RM149.30, F&N 44 sen to RM34.50 while BAT gained 26 sen to RM38.34. However, Carlsberg lost 28 sen to RM20.80.
KL Kepong added 32 sen to RM24.70, Genting Plantations 24 sen to RM10.30 and PPB Group 16 sen to RM18.28. United Plantations was the top loser, down 78 sen to RM26.22.
Insurer LPI Capital added 18 sen to RM16.50 while Aeon Credit
climbed 14 sen to RM15.90.