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Continued Strength Called For Malaysia Shares

The Malaysia stock market on Friday wrote a finish to the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 20 points or 1.1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed just above the 1,805-point plateau, and the market is looking at additional support on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat following positive employment data from the United States, plus news over the weekend that China's central bank will cut interest rates for the third time in five months. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The KLCI finished slightly higher on Friday as the financial shares, plantation stocks and industrial issues were mostly higher, although weakness from the consumer stocks weighed.

For the day, the index gained 2.55 points or 0.14 percent to finish at 1,807.65 after trading between 1,805.35 and 1,814.28. Volume was 1.518 billion shares worth 1.937 billion ringgit. There were 461 gainers and 316 decliners, with 324 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Sime Darby, MISC, Maybank, RHB Capital, CIMB Group, Petronas Dagangan, Petronas Chemical and Kuala Lumpur Kepong all finished higher, while Hong Leong Bank was flat and Public Bank, Petronas Gas and IOI Corporation ended lower.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks moved sharply higher on Friday, extending recent gains and sending the Dow to its best closing level in over two months.

The Dow soared 267.05 points or 1.5 percent to 18,191.11, while the NASDAQ jumped 58.00 points or 1.2 percent to 5,003.55 and the S&P 500 surged 28.10 points or 1.4 percent to 2,116.10. For the week, the Dow added 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, while the NASDAQ edged slightly lower.

The rally reflected a positive reaction to the Labor Department's highly anticipated monthly jobs report from April. The jobs data was seen as solid but not strong enough to put a June interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve back on the table.

The positive sentiment also followed a rally by European stocks, which moved higher on news that the Conservatives won a surprise victory in the U.K. general elections.

Closer to home, Malaysia will release March numbers for industrial and manufacturing production later today. Industrial output is expected to dip 0.3 percent on month and rise 4.5 percent on year after easing 0.1 percent on month and gaining 5.2 percent on year in February. Manufacturing production fell 0.3 percent on month and climbed 4.0 percent on year in February.

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