KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI stayed flat as it entered the midday break with few positive catalysts to break it out of its sideways motion.

At 12.30pm, the benchmark index was up 0.57 point to 1,523.45.

Trading on Bursa Malaysia was subdued with only 1.6 billion shares exchanging hands for RM961.37mil.

Bank stocks weighed on the market ahead of earnings results due to be released in the coming days.

Maybank slipped four sen to RM8.12, Public Bank fell one sen to RM4.06 and Hong Leong Bank lost two sen to RM18.28. CIMB however rose one sen to RM5.20.

Petronas Chemicals meanwhile climbed three sen to RM8.34 on the back of positive prospects over petrochemicals prices. In contrast, Petronas Gas dropped two sen to RM16.28.

In plantations, Sime Darby Plantation shed three sen to RM3.86 while IOI gained two sen to RM3.78 and KL Kepong climbed 45 sen to RM20.72 on the back of strong earnings results.

On the broader market, there were 454 decliners to 311 gainers.

Top actives were VSolar up 0.5 sen to1.5 sen, WZ Satu adding 2.5 sen to 25.5 sen and DNeX rising 1.5 sen to 88 sen.

In regional markets, investor attention was focused on rising US Treasury yields and volatile crude oil prices ahead of moves by the US to increase supply.

Japan’s Nikkei was down 1.7%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5% while China’s main index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.1% apiece.

Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX200 was flat as it approached the closing bell.

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