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Malaysia Stocks May See Additional Support

The Malaysia stock market bounced higher again on Wednesday, one session after it had ended the three-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 35 points or 2 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,790-point plateau although it's looking at another firm start again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm thanks to economic optimism and a surge in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian markets figure to follow suit.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the plantations, financials and industrials.

For the day, the index climbed 10.09 points or 0.57 percent to finish at 1,792.79 after trading between 1,785.21 and 1,795.87. Volume was 5.11 billion shares worth 3.67 billion ringgit. There were 771 gainers and 305 decliners.

Among the actives, Sime Darby skyrocketed 8.56 percent, while Astro Malaysia Holdings surged 3.86 percent, AMMB Holdings soared 2.47 percent, Petronas Gas spiked 2.40 percent, Petronas Chemicals jumped 1.27 percent, Maybank climbed 1.24 percent, Maxis tumbled 0.83 percent, Genting advanced 0.64 percent, Tenaga Nasional added 0.53 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.46 percent, Genting Malaysia gained 0.35 percent, Telekom Malaysia lost 0.32 percent, IOI Corporation fell 0.22 percent and Public Bank and YTL Corporation were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved mostly higher on Wednesday, adding to gains from the previous session as the major averages hit fresh record closing highs.

The Dow rose 98.67 points or 0.40 percent to 24,922.68, while the NASDAQ advanced 58.63 points or 0.84 percent to 7,065.53 and the S&P climbed 17.25 points or 0.64 percent to 2,713.06.

The continued strength on Wall Street came as upbeat data added to recent optimism about the economic outlook.

The Institute for Supply Management said growth in manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in December, while the Commerce Department noted a bigger than expected increase in construction spending in November.

Stocks remained positive following the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting - which showed that most participants reiterated their support for continuing a gradual approach to raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, the Fed said it raised its economic projections due to the massive tax reform bill passed by Republicans and signed by President Donald Trump.

Crude oil futures continued to soar Wednesday thanks to the threat of supply disruptions from the Middle East and a weaker dollar. WTI light sweet crude oil was up $1.26 or 2.1 percent to $61.63/bbl, the highest since December 2014.

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