Malaysia Bourse May Extend Thursday's Losses

(RTTNews) - The Malaysia stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last five trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than 15 points or 1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,630-point plateau and it may take further damage on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on sliding crude oil prices and ahead of U.S. employment data later today. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, plantation stocks and industrial issues.

For the day, the index slid 10.05 points or 0.61 percent to finish at 1,632.24 after trading between 1,631.27 and 1,644.35. Volume was 2.7 billion shares worth 2 billion ringgit. There were 669 decliners and 225 gainers.

Among the actives, Digi.com plummeted 3.48 percent, while Hartalega Holdings plunged 1.99 percent, Sime Darby Plantations tumbled 1.55 percent, Sime Darby jumped 1.29 percent, Dialog Group skidded 1.24 percent, IOI Corporation retreated 1.11 percent, IHH Healthcare declined 0.90 percent, CIMB Group dropped 0.76 percent, Petronas Chemicals sank 0.56 percent, Genting shed 0.43 percent, RHB Capital fell 0.17 percent, Public Bank eased 0.09 percent and Genting Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional and Maybank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is weak as stock shrugged off a positive open Thursday but turned lower as the day progressed and finished in the red.

The Dow shed 122.35 points or 0.46 percent to 25,307.79, while the NASDAQ lost 12.87 points or 0.16 percent to 8,036.77 and the S&P 500 fell 6.21 points or 0.21 percent to 2,917.52.

The pullback on Wall Street was attributed to continued disappointment with Wednesday's remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggesting the central bank is not likely to lower interest rates in the near future as some had hoped.

Traders also moved out of risky assets such as stocks ahead of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today.

In economic news, the Labor Department said productivity surged 3.6 percent in the first quarter after climbing by a downwardly revised 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Also, the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods jumped more than expected in March amid a rebound in orders for transportation equipment.

Crude oil futures fell to their lowest level in about a month on Thursday, weighed down by data showing record U.S. crude production and inventories. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down $1.79 or 2.8 percent at $61.81 a barrel, the lowest settlement since April 1.

Closer to home, Malaysia will see March figures for imports, exports and trade balance later today. In February, imports were worth 55.5 billion ringgit and exports were at 66.6 billion ringgit for a trade surplus of 11.1 billion ringgit.

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