(RTTNews.com) - The Malaysia stock market moved higher again on Thursday, one session after it had halted the two-day winning streak in which it had picked up almost 10 points or 0.6 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,740-point plateau, and now the market inherits a positive lead for Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to positive earnings news, although falling oil prices may cap the upside. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian markets are tipped to follow suit.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the financial shares and plantation stocks were capped by weakness from the industrial issues.
Among the actives, RHB Bank, Maybank, CIMB Group, Hong Leong, Tenaga Nasional, Sime Darby and Malayan United all finished higher, while Public Bank was unchanged and Petronas Chemicals ended lower.
The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved higher on Thursday following a few sessions of directionless trade.
The Dow added 174.22 points or 0.9 percent to 20,578.71, while the NASDAQ jumped 53.74 points or 0.9 percent to 5,916.78 and the S&P gained 17.67 points or 0.8 percent to 2,355.84.
The rally followed solid earnings news, with American Express (AXP) and KeyCorp (KEY) beating the street, although eBay (EBAY) provided disappointing guidance and Verizon (VZ) saw earnings that missed expectations.
In economic news, the Labor Department saw a bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended April 15. Also, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve noted a slowdown in regional manufacturing activity in April.
Crude oil futures fell for a fourth straight session Thursday, but held above the psychologically important $50 mark. June WTI oil settled at $50.71/bbl, down 14 cents or 0.3 percent while May WTI oil fell 17 cents or 0.3 percent to $50.27/bbl. Soaring U.S. production continued to offset OPEC's supply quota plan.
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