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Malaysia Bourse Likely Rangebound On Wednesday

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, giving away almost 8 points or 0.45 percent in that span. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed just above the 1,855-point plateau, and the market figures to remain stuck in that area code again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is muddled ahead of today's monetary policy statement from the Federal Reserve, plus growing geopolitical concerns. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Tuesday, bumped into the red by weakness from the plantation stocks.

For the day, the index dipped 4.52 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 1,855.06 after trading between 1,850.04 and 1,862.14. Volume was 2.174 billion shares worth 2.151 billion ringgit. There were 762 decliners and 183 gainers, with 272 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, United Plantations, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, Nestle and BAT all finished lower, while MISC, KKB Engineering and Oriental Holdings ended higher.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks were relatively lackluster on Tuesday, with the major averages eventually ending on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The NASDAQ fell 4.82 points or 0.1 percent to 5,055.42, while the Dow climbed 72.17 points or 0.4 percent to 18,110.14 and the S&P 500 rose 5.84 points or 0.3 percent to 2,114.76.

The early volatility followed reports that Iranian forces seized a cargo ship flagged to the Marshall Islands in the Strait of Hormuz. A U.S. Navy destroyer has been ordered to the region to keep an eye on the situation.

Uncertainty about the Fed's monetary policy announcement later today also weighed. While the Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged, traders will be paying close attention to any hints regarding the outlook for rates.

On the economic front, the Conference Board reported an unexpected pullback in U.S. consumer confidence in April.

Corporate earnings news was mixed, with Twitter (TWTR) and Whirlpool (WHR) missing the mark, while Merck (MRK) beat expectations.

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