Maybank, Hong Leong Bank and PetDag lead KLCI higher

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips advanced in early Monday trade, underpinned by gains in Maybank, Hong Leong Bank and Petronas Dagangan but the broader market continued to be cautious as decliners beat advancers more than two to one.

At 9.33am, the KLCI was up 6.28 points or 0.4% to 1,588.80. Turnover was 1.3 billion shares valued at RM640.02mil. There were 559 losers versus 223 gainers and 313 counters were unchanged.

Reuters reported Asian shares edged cautiously higher catching the tailwind from a bounce on Wall Street and ahead of what are expected to be upbeat readings on the Chinese economy, though any disappointment could quickly chill the mood.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed 0.2%, nudging further away from a four-month trough hit last week.

Japan's Nikkei gained 0.4%, having also touched its lowest since early January last week.

At Bursa last week, the net outflow of foreign funds slowed over the previous week to RM108.1mil and year-to-date, foreign investors have been net sellers of RM3.31bil of Malaysian equities.

In early Monday trade, Petronas Dagangan was the top gainer, up 50 sen to RM19.60 while Hong Leong Bank and Maybank added 12 sen each to RM17.82 and RM8.33.

Vitrox climbed 22 sen to RM14.82 but off the early high of RM15 but Unisem fell 21 sen to RM6.94.

Jewelry maker Tomei rose 16 sen to RM1.17 and BIG 14 sen to 98 sen.

Other decliners were Genting Plantations, down 50 sen to RM8.39 and Ann Joo 23 sen to RM2.67.

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