Bursa stays positive as attention shifts to the Fed

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia stayed positive ahead of the announcement of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision later tonight amid bets that the central bank will slow its rate of increase.

At the lunch break, the FBM KLCI was up 0.86 points to 1,407.41 while the broader market remained positive with 416 gainers to 344 decliners.

Trading volume was 1.9 billion shares valued at RM973.13mil.

There remained an air of uncertainty over global equities markets as worries over the US banking sector persisted, with much of the attention going to the Fed as the turmoil has been partly blamed on the aggressive rate hikes leading to a plunge in bond yields.

Japan's Nikkei took the lead in the Asian region as it jumped 2.1% to 27,503 after reopening from a national holiday.

South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1% to 2,413 while China's composite index eked out a 0.25% gain to 3,263.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng however climbed 1.9% to 19,629 as investors bet on technology counters, a key beneficiary of slowing global rate hikes.

Australia's ASX200 was up 1% to 7,020.

Back home, Bursa Malaysia's tech stocks were also lifted with MPI gaining 76 sen to RM28.62. UWC jumped 12 sen to RM3.45, D&O rose five sen to RM4.19 and Inari gained two sen to RM2.38.

Maybank helped to drive the blue-chip index higher after leaping seven sen to RM8.47. Other gainers included Maxis up seven sen to RM4.01, PETRONAS Gas rising eight sen to RM16.48 and MISC rising seven sen to RM7.21.

Among actives, Careplus was down 0.5 sen to 31 sen, Top Glove flat at 96 sen and Bintai Kinden down one sen to seven sen.

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