At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 8.07 points to 1,584.68, after having risen to a high of 1,609.19 earlier in the day.
Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday the current extension of the MCO should reduce the number of coronavirus case numbers to bring the country back to a conditional movement control order by February.
Investors saw this as a sign that the recent selling on the stock exchange has been overdone, leading to a bout of bargain-hunting.
Public Bank led the index higher following a four-for-one bonus issue that went ex today.
Post-split, the counter rose 27 sen to RM4.53 as investors bought up the now more affordable counter.
Other bank counters were also lifted, including Maybank up seven sen to RM7.95, CIMB rising four sen to RM3.88, Hong Leong Bank climbing 18 sen to RM17.42.
Glove counters meanwhile retreated despite Hartalega releasing another stellar result yesterday. The stock slipped 48 sen to RM12.52, while Top Glove fell 24 sen to RM6.28.
Among the top actives, Dagang Nexchange rose 0.5 sen to 30.5 sen, Fintec Global was flat at 7.5 sen and Key Asic gained 1.5 sen to 10.5 sen.
Meanwhile, regional markets retreated sharply amid fears that the US$1.9 trillion stimulus package might hit a roadblock.
Japan's Nikkei fell 1% and China's composite index dropped 1.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dove 2.4% and South Korea's Kospi skidded 2.2%.
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