Published: Wednesday February 27, 2013 MYT 1:03:00 PM

Public Bank, CIMB lift KLCI, AirAsia in focus

By Joseph Chin

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Public Bank and CIMB advanced on Wednesday after their firmer earnings, lifting the FBM KLCI higher, while AirAsia was the star of the day following its dividends payout.

At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI was up 1.9 points or 0.12% to 1,626.08. Turnover was 435.54 million shares valued at RM610.52mil. Advancers led decliners 271 to 255 while 271 counters were unchanged.

Key regional markets were mostly higher after the US Federal Reserve's affirmation of its commitment to monetary stimulus, but investors remained wary of political gridlock in Italy reigniting the euro zone financial crisis, according to Reuters.

Among the key regional markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 was the only one in the red, down 0.47% to 11,345.23.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.46% to 22,624.09; Shanghai's Composite Index added 0.34% to 2,301.15; Taiwan's Taiex advanced 0.39% to 7,911.78 and South Korea's Kospi 0.35% higher at 3,265.66 and Singapore's Straits Times Index ended the morning 0.35% higher at 3,265.66.

At Bursa Malaysia, Public Bank rose eight sen to RM16 and pushed the KLCI up 0.87 of a point while CIMB gained four sen to RM7.11 and nudged the index up 0.69 of a point. Maybank inched up one sen to RM9.15. HLFG gained 18 sen to RM13.98.

Consumer stocks were the top gainers, adding RM1.52 to RM44.18, BAT 38 sen to RM58.68 while Carlsberg rose 14 sen to RM12.84 on its special dividend and earnings. F&N lost 18 sen to RM18.02.

AirAsia rose 26 sen to RM2.90 as investors' sentiment was boosted by its firmer financial results and hefty dividends.

UMW gained 14 sen to RM12.24 on its plan to list its oil and gas division.

Ingress continued to surge, adding 13 sen to RM1.60 after its subsidiary had secured a contract to provide parts to Proton's new model.

Crude palm oil for third-month futures rose RM12 to RM2,431. KL Kepong fell 22 sen to RM20.62, SOP 12 sen to RM4.95 and IOI Corp five sen to RM4.88 while FGV shed three sen to RM4.41.

The ringgit was firmer against the US dollar at 3.0991 from 3.1028.

US light crude oil inched up two cents to US$92.65 and Brent seven cents higher at US$112.78.

Spot gold fell US$1.40 to US$1,612.

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