KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI was lifted 3.32 points to 1,640.72 on Tuesday morning on the strength of the index's most heavily weighted counter, Maybank.
The banking stock rose 14 sen to a three-week high of RM9.28 as the deadline for Hyflux Ltd to make payment for its term-loan facilities expires today.
Other bank counters showed mixed performances with CIMB rising three sen to RM5.23, RHB adding 14 sen to RM6.04, Public Bank dropping two sen to RM22.54, Hong Leong Bank shedding two sen to RM20.06 and Ambank losing three sen to RM4.47.
MISC saw some buying interest, gaining 13 sen to RM6.93 while Tenaga Nasional climbed eight sen to RM12.28.
Looking at the top active movers of the morning session, Bumi Armada
rose 0.5 sen to 24 sen, Karex jumped five sen to 65 sen and Ekovest lost 0.5 sen to 89 sen.
Transaction value on Bursa Malaysia has dipped following the implementation of the T+2 cycle on Monday, where total trading value fell to its lowest since the post-CNY market day of Feb 7.
The stock exchange appeared headed for a repeat performance on Tuesday with the value of shares traded in the morning session coming to RM729.72mil on volume of 1.17 billion shares.
Around the region, investor sentiment has been shaky following the release of China's disappointing manufacturing data, which pointed to slower growth.
Trading activity was muted ahead of the US Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting while Japan's markets remained shuttered for a 10-day national holiday in conjunction with the ascension of its new emperor.
The Shanghai Composite Index managed to shake off its early morning weakness and ramped up to a gain of 0.4% by midday. The effort was also seen in the large cap CSI300 Index, which put on 0.2%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index however fell 0.5% and South Korea's Kospi Index slipped 0.4%.
Expectations that Opec will increase supply to offset the shortfall caused by US sanctions on Iran weighed on oil prices.
US crude fell seven cents to US$63.43 a barrel and Brent crude dropped 22 cents to US$71.82 a barrel.
Ahead of possible direction from the US Fed policy rate meeting, the ringgit was mostly unchanged against the US dollar at 4.1350, the pound sterling at 5.3518 and Singapore dollar at 3.0361.