US and Chinese policymakers are working towards a phase-one trade deal before the new tariffs on US$160bil of Chinese goods come into effect on Dec 15. However investors are expecting the deadline for the tariffs to be pushed back to buy the negotiators more time.
The local market has been languishing beneath the 50-day simple moving average over the last two weeks since fresh headwinds put into doubt the signing of a trade deal by this year.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 2.35 points to 1,564.14. Trading volume was 1.14 billion shares valued at RM682.93mil. There were 334 decliners, 297 gainers and 370 counters unchanged.
Among the heavyweights, IHH rose nine sen to RM5.34, Maybank gained two sen to RM8.56 and Public Bank added six sen to RM19.02.
Tenaga Nasional led losses with a 10 sen decline to RM13.16.
On the broader market, Quality Concrete jumped for a second day after having hit limit up in the previous session. The group announced on Monday that it had secured a RM34.64mil contract for the maintenance of state roads in Sarawak.
The counter ended the morning 24 sen or 21.82% higher at RM1.34.
Top active stocks as at 12.30pm were AT unchanged at five sen, TDM up 0.5 sen at 31.5 sen and WCE up 1.5 sen at 32 sen.
In oil markets, prices slid as US inventories built up and traders awaited news on the US-China trade talks that would impact global demand.
US crude dropped 29 cents to US$58.94 a barrel and Bernt crude slid 40 cents to US$63.94 a barrel.
Ahead of a US Federal Reserve meeting later tonight, where the US interest rate is expected to be kept status qup, the ringgit rose against a weakening greenback.
The local currency gained 0.1% against the US dollar at 4.1600, 0.2% against the pound sterling at 5.4671 and 0.2% against the Singapore dollar at 3.0575.
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