KUALA LUMPUR: Domestic banks helped to lift the overall market on Thursday even as high core inflation data from the US cast a pall over investor sentiment in global equities.
At 9.15am, the FBM KLCI was up 2.69 points to 1,558.55, one day after Malaysia's central bank increased the overnight policy rate by 25 basis points in a surprise move that analysts say was to head off capital outflows and support the local currency.
Neverthless, Bursa Malaysia was negative overall with 307 decliners compared with 186 gainers.
The generally weaker market was in line with the sell-off on Wall Street as the inflation data released overnight renewed expectations of aggressive US Federal Reserve rate hikes.
On the domestic front, Maybank was bolstered by the higher cost of lending, jumping five sen to RM9.15. Public Bank was up two sen to RM4.67 and Hong Leong Bank edged four sen higher to RM20.58.
Petronas Chemicals was also up 10 sen to RM9.99 on the elevated cost of Brent crude futures while Petronas Gas rose eight sen to RM17.12.
Press Metal however maintained its downward slide by eight sen to RM4.99 as China's lockdown softened demand expectations for metals.
There was also downside pressure on plantations with Kuala Lumpur Kepong losing 30 sen to RM26.60, IOI falling six sen to RM4.30 and Sime Darby Plantation sliding one sen to RM4.98.
Meanwhile, Serba Dinamik appeared to have found its bottom, bouncing two sen higher to eight sen on another day of heavy trading.
Topping the actives list with 70.8 million shares traded, the stock has lost over 60% of its value since it resumed trading at the start of the week.
Also seeing active trading was CSH down 0.5 sen to 21 sen and PUC rising 0.5 sen to 5.5 sen.