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Malaysia Stock Market May See Additional Support

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 30 points or 1.9 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,680-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on optimism for the global trade outlook - plus a bump in crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Monday as gains from the financials were capped by weakness from the industrials and plantations and a mixed picture from the telecoms.

For the day, the index gathered 9.39 points or 0.56 percent to finish at 1,679.17 after trading between 1,673.03 and 1,687.13. Volume was 2.5 billion shares worth 1.9 billion ringgit. There were 604 gainers and 294 decliners.

Among the actives, Hartalega Holdings plummeted 6.20 percent, while AMMB Holdings surged 5.53 percent, Top Glove Corporation plunged 4.33 percent, Tenaga Nasional soared 3.57 percent, Petronas Chemicals tumbled 3.56 percent, Sime Darby spiked 3.06 percent, Dialog Group skidded 2.41 percent, Genting Malaysia jumped 2.30 percent, IHH Healthcare climbed 2.21 percent, Maybank collected 1.18 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong dropped 0.58 percent, Digi.com advanced 0.45 percent, Axiata Group added 0.26 percent, CIMB Group gained 0.18 percent, Public Bank was up 0.16 percent and IOI Corporation, RHB Capital and PPB Group were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks extended Friday's gains, allowing the major averages to offset last month's selloff.

The Dow added 98.19 points or 0.42 percent to 23,531.35, while the NASDAQ gained 84.61 points or 1.26 percent to 6,823.47 and the S&P rose 17.75 points or 0.70 percent to 2,549.69.

The continued strength on Wall Street reflected optimism about high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China in Beijing; the two-day meeting was described as positive and constructive.

Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off an Institute for Supply Management report showing growth in U.S. service sector activity slowed more than expected in December.

Crude oil futures were up Monday, extending gains to a sixth straight session on reports Saudi Arabia will reduce crude exports by the end of this month. Crude oil futures for February were up $0.56 or 1.2 percent at $48.52 a barrel.

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