KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI was slightly higher at midday as investors piggybacked on Wall Street optimism following the US Federal Reserve’s announcement of its policy direction.

At 12.30pm, the key index was up 2.23 points to 1,485.04, indicating cautious buying despite a regional lift in sentiment.

Bank led the index higher as the Fed’s signaled rate hikes lent confirmation of global economic growth and higher lending costs.

Maybank gained two sen to RM8.12, Public Bank rose one sen to RM4.02, CIMB gained five sen to RM5.21 and Hong Leong Bank climbed 26 sen to RM18.38.

The Fed decision also helped to buoy crude oil prices, sending Brent crude up 0.88% to US$74.28 a barrel.

The Bursa Malaysia energy index followed suit, rising 1.64% to 682.82.

Petrochemicals blue chip Petronas Chemicals was seen rising six sen to RM8.67 on the higher commodity price while shipping company MISC gained five sen to RM3.66.

Meanwhile, Main Market debutant Aurelius Technologies ended at midday 44 sen or 32.35% higher at RM1.80.

The industrial electronics manufacturer hit an intra-morning high of RM1.83 and lists as the second most actively traded stock on Bura with 144.45 million shares done.

The top traded stock was ATA IMS, rising two sen to 71.5 sen with 202.37 million shares exchanging hands.

Meanwhile, Asian markets rallied on the back of the Fed announcement, which was as expected, clearing the way for investors to map out their investment strategies for the coming year.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.7% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2%.

China’s main indx was up 0.3% although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.8% on news that the US was adding more Chinese tech firms on to its blacklist.

Australia’s ASX200 fell 0.4%.

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