KUALA LUMPUR: Asian stock markets including the Malaysian bourse advanced till midday Monday March 1 as investors digested updates on an improving landscape in the US, the world's largest economy.
However, analysts were still mindful of the inherent volatility in global equity markets in the coming months against the backdrop of the debt crisis in Dubai and Greece, besides a tighter credit environment in China.
"We feel that risks outweigh rewards and prefer a 'Sell on Rallies' approach for most markets, local indices and most stocks on the local market," Maybank Investment Bank Bhd head of retail research Lee Cheng Hooi wrote in a note today.
At 12.30pm, the FBM KLCI surged 12.53 points to close at 1,283.31, supported by gains in banking and PLANTATION  stocks.
Across the exchange, a total of 588.37 million shares valued at RM833.46 million were traded, leading to 288 rising stocks versus 370 declining entities.
Top gainer BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (M)  Bhd gained 44 sen to RM42.42. Among major decliners, Fibon Bhd lost 20 sen to 90 sen.
Major Asian equity indices saw substantial gains at midday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.88% to 20,996.25, Australia's ASX 200 rose 0.77% to 4,673.60 while Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.65% to 10,191.94.
The US economy expanded at a faster than expected annual pace of 5.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Commerce Department, surpassing market estimates of a 5.7% growth.
Last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.04% to 10,325.26, Nasdaq added 0.18% to 2,238.26, while S&P 500 was up 0.14% to 1,104.49.