Investors are anticipating support for the domestic economy amid a bearish global backdrop as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to worsen. The number of new infections continue to growth in South Korea and Thailand while previously unaffected countries such as Iran and Brazil reported first infections.
Also weighing on the market is the political uncertainty that has spooked investment sentiment over the past week.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 3.55 points to 1,498.74 amid advances led by Public Bank and Hong Leong Bank.
Trading volume was 2.02 billion shares valued at RM1.23bil. There were 570 decliners, 234 gainers and 326 counters unchanged.
Bank stocks put on weight on Thursday ahead of the stimulus package. Public Bank, which shaved 1.8% off its share price yesterday, rebounded 22 sen to RM17.42.
Hong Leong Bank also rose 34 sen to RM15.52 while Maybank added four sen to RM8.37.
CIMB fell seven sen to RM5.84 and RHB dropped two sen to RM5.56.
On the broader market, brewers continued to face selling pressure with Carlsberg extending its fall from the previous session by RM1.78 to RM33.98. Heineken also continued its slide by 78 sen to RM27.58.
Oil prices slid to a 13-month low after a fifth straight day of losses as the demand outlook continued to soften on growing coronavirus fears.
US crude dove 80 cents to US$47.93 a barrel and Brent crude dropped 78 cents to US$52.74 a barrel.
In currencies, the ringgit was up 0.1% against the US dollar at 4.2180 and 0.1% against the Singapore dollar at 3.0185. It fell 0.1% against the pound sterling at 5.4526.
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