Little Movement Seen For Malaysia Stock Market

(RTTNews) - Ahead of Thursday's holiday for Federal Territory Day, the Malaysia stock market had bounced higher again, one day after ending the six-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 35 points or 2.1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now sits just above the 1,510-point plateau and it's likely to remain in that neighborhood again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive, with many believing that the heavy selling earlier this week was overdone. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished barely higher on Wednesday following mixed performances from the financials, telecoms and plantations.

For the day, the index perked 0.23 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 1,512.98 after trading between 1,509.55 and 1,516.40.

Among the actives, AMMB Holdings fell 0.47 percent, while Axiata rallied 0.74 percent, Celcomdigi jumped 1.43 percent, CIMB Group rose 0.16 percent, Genting stumbled 1.26 percent, Genting Malaysia dropped 0.74 percent, IHH Healthcare climbed 0.66 percent, IOI Corporation gained 0.25 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong dipped 0.27 percent, Maxis advanced 0.53 percent, Maybank collected 0.22 percent, MISC added 0.27 percent, MRDIY plunged 2.82 percent, Petronas Chemicals skidded 0.88 percent, PPB Group slumped 0.96 percent, Press Metal eased 0.21 percent, Public Bank was down 0.23 percent, QL Resources slid 0.34 percent, RHB Capital sank 0.71 percent, Sime Darby fell 0.41 percent, Sime Darby Plantations retreated 1.12 percent, Telekom Malaysia shed 0.50 percent, Tenaga Nasional surged 2.29 percent, YTL Corporation tanked 2.09 percent, YTL Power tumbled 2.14 percent and Hong Leong Bank and Petronas Gas were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as the major averages opened slightly higher on Thursday and largely accelerated as the day progressed, ending near session highs.

The Dow rallied 369.54 points or 0.97 percent to finish at 38,519.84, while the NASDAQ jumped 197.63 points or 1.30 percent to end at 15,361.64 and the S&P 500 gained 60.54 points or 1.25 percent to close at 4,906.19.

The rebound on Wall Street came as traders picked up stocks at reduced levels after Wednesday's selloff. The Federal Reserve signals that an interest rate cut in March is unlikely, but economists believe it is a matter of "when, not if" the central bank will eventually lower rates.

A continued decrease by treasury yields may also have contributed to the buying interest, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note falling to its lowest levels in over a month.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly saw a modest increase last week. Also, the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. manufacturing activity increased in January but continues to indicate contraction.

Oil futures settled lower on Thursday with traders following the negotiations of a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, although a possible pick-up in energy demand helped limit the downside. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March sank $2.03 or 2.7 percent at $73.82 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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