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Malaysia Bourse Poised To Snap Losing Streak

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower in back-to-back trading days, sliding almost a dozen points or 0.7 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,665-point plateau although it may find traction on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm on continued trade optimism and surging crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in slimier fashion.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Wednesday as losses from the industrials and plantations were mitigated by support from the financials.

For the day, the index dipped 4.93 points or 0.29 percent to finish at the daily low of 1,667.83 after peaking at 1,684.08. Volume was 3 billion shares worth 2.5 billion ringgit. There were 678 gainers and 258 decliners.

Among the actives, Petronas Chemicals plummeted 4.89 percent, while Top Glove plunged 3.61 percent, Hartalega Holdings tumbled 2.91 percent, Genting Malaysia soared 2.19 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong skidded 2.07 percent, Genting spiked 1.58 percent, RHB Capital jumped 0.95 percent, IHH Healthcare dropped 0.53 percent, Axiata climbed 0.51 percent, Sime Darby advanced 0.42 percent, Dialog Group added 0.35 percent, Tenaga Nasional gained 0.15 percent, Public Bank collected 0.08 percent and Hong Leong Bank, IOI Corporation, Maybank, CIMB Group and Petronas Dagangan all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks fluctuated on Wednesday but still finished higher, extending gains for a fourth consecutive session.

The Dow added 91.67 points or 0.39 percent to 23,879.12, while the NASDAQ gained 60.08 points or 0.87 percent to 6,957.08 and the S&P was up 10.55 points or 0.41 percent to 2,584.96.

The markets continued to benefit from optimism about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China after talks between U.S. and Chinese officials were extended to a third day. Traders remain hopeful the U.S. and China will reach a long-term agreement before a March 1 deadline.

Stocks remained positive after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting confirmed Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's recent remarks suggesting the central bank will take a patient approach to further interest rate increases.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday, extending gains to an eighth straight session amid easing concerns about energy demand. Crude oil futures for February ended up $2.58 or 5.2 percent at $52.36 a barrel.

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