At 5pm, the KLCI was up 13.82 points or 0.82% to 1,706.56 – the highest since mid-November. Turnover was 2.81 billion shares valued at RM2.36bil. There were 517 gainers, 385 losers and 366 counters unchanged.
Bursa was playing catch-up with the other key Asian markets which had rallied last week. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1%, Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.05% but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.41% and Singapore's Straits Times Index shed 0.19%.
Reports of progress in trade talks between the US and China have prompted investors to be mildly optimistic that the two countries can reach a compromise by March 1 that will de-escalate their dispute or at least avoid a sharp hike in tariffs, although very few details from the talks have emerged, Reuters reported.
US light crude oil rose 30 cents to US$55.89 but Brent fell 25 cents to US$66.25 after the recent rally.
Petronas Chemicals rose 33 sen to RM8.90 and pushed the KLCI up 4.62 points but Petronas Daganagn lost four sen to RM26.76 and Petronas Gas two sen to RM18.10. Dialog shed three sen to RM3.21.
Tenaga climbed 32 sen to RM13.32 and added 3.19 points to the index, IHH added eight sen to RM5.69, Genting Malaysia 10 sen to RM3.48 and GENTING BHD 10 sen to RM7.19. Sime Darby edged up four sen to RM2.27.
Glove makers also fared well with Top Glove up 15 sen to RM5.14 and Hartalega 10 sen to RM5.49.
Crude palm oil for third month delivery fell RM24 to RM2,262 per tonne. Despite the decline, IOI Corp rose 11 sen to RM4.68, KL Kepong gained 26 sen to RM25, PPB Group 12 sen to RM18.32 and Sime Plantation flat at RM5.16.
Among the banks, Hong Leong Bank added 18 sen to RM21.14, Maybank, Public Bank and AmBank were flat at RM9.48, RM25 and RM4.42 respectively while CIMB shed two sen to RM5.69.
Maxis fell five sen to RM5.50 but Axiata gained 10 sen to RM4.11 and Digi five sen to RM4.69.
Heineken was the top gainer, up 60 sen to RM22.60 ahead of the release of its results on Wednesday while Dutch Lady added 58 sen to RM63.38 and F&N 24 sen to RM35 while Ajinomoto ended the day 20 sen higher at RM18.82.
BAT was the top loser, down 98 sen to RM35.30 after it was downgraded and Nestle shed 30 sen to RM148.50.
Aeon Credit continued to see some selling pressure, falling 38 sen to RM16.78 after the recent rally.
The ringgit edged up 0.12% to the US dollar to 4.0807 and gained 0.01% to the Singapore dollar at 3.0102. It was unchanged against the pound sterling at 5.2765 and shed 0.06% to 4.6227.
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