KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI maintained a slight lead on Friday as investors held on recent gains on the back of the global recovery.

The market is poised to end the week on an better footing after a three-day rally spurred by firmer commodities prices and an improved economic outlook.

At 12.30pm, the country’s key index was up 3.43 points to 1,564.72, a 40-point or 2.6% improvement over last Friday’s closing.

For today, investors remained upbeat following Wall Street’s overnight rally a short-term deal between policymakers to raise the debt ceiling prevented a potential debt default.

There was also relief as Chinese markets, previously sold down on negative sentiment over government policies, turned in a positive performance after a week-long holiday.

Helping to keep the FBM KLCI above par, commodities plays continued to lead the gains on the market.

Aluminium producer Press Metal climbed 16 sen to RM6.06 while among plantation plays, Sime Darby Plantation rose six sne to RM4.25, IOI inched one sen higher to RM4.06 and Kuala Lumpur gained eight sen to RM22.38.

Oil major Petronas Chemicals also stayed positive as it eked out a one sen advance to RM8.69.

The performance of bank stocks remained mixed following last week’s sell-off as the government continued discussions with banks on a proposal to waive the interest incurred during the loan moratorium for the B50 group.

Earlier today, a news portal cited sources that local banks have made a counter-proposal to the government’s initiative although the details reamin unknown.

Maybank rose two sen to RM8.07 and CIMB added four sen to RM4.90. Hong Leong Bank stayed flat at RM18.78 while Public Bank lost one sen to RM4.07.

Among top actives on Bursa, SC Estate Builder was down four sne to 12.5 sen, Opco rose six sen to RM1.52 and Alam Maritin slid 0.5 sen to five sen.

Meanwhile, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5%, extending the previous day’s 2.1% advance.

CHina’s composite index was up 0.3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.1%.

Suoth Korea’s Kospi stayed flat. Australia’s ASX200 added 0.75%.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei was up 1.8%.

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