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Malaysia Bourse May See Continued Support

The Malaysia stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day slide in which it had surrendered almost a dozen points or 0.7 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,680-point plateau and it's looking at another green light again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on optimism over the outlook for rate hikes and continued support from crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the plantations and industrials were tempered by mixed performances from the financials and telecoms.

For the day, the index added 11.05 points or 0.66 percent to finish at 1,678.88 after trading between 1,669.28 and 1,681.23. Volume was 3.4 billion shares worth 2.7 billion ringgit. Gains and decliners were even at 435.

Among the actives, Maxis surged 3.30 percent, while MISC soared 3.21 percent, IHH Healthcare spiked 2.68 percent, Top Glove tumbled 2.08 percent, IOI Corporation jumped 1.81 percent, Axiata climbed 1.78 percent, Dialog Group skidded 1.75 percent, Petronas Chemicals advanced 1.75 percent, Sime Darby dropped 1.67 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong perked 1.53 percent, Tenaga Nasional gathered 1.46 percent, Public Bank collected 0.49 percent, Digi.com shed 0.45 percent, PPB Group lost 0.23 percent, Maybank fell 0.21 percent, Genting was down 0.16 percent and Genting Malaysia, AMMB Holdings and CIMB Group were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks shook off early weakness Thursday to finish higher for the fifth straight session.

The Dow added 122.80 points or 0.51 percent to 24,001.92, while the NASDAQ gained 28.99 points or 0.42 percent to 6,986.07 and the S&P rose 11.68 points or 0.45 percent to 2,596.64.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came as traders cashed in on recent strength after trade talks between the U.S. and China showed no significant breakthroughs. Selling pressure waned shortly thereafter as traders remain optimistic the U.S. and China will eventually reach a long-term trade deal.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 5.

Traders also followed remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who reiterated the Fed will be patient in raising interest rates further, noting the central bank is waiting and watching.

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday, extending gains to a ninth successive session on reports of declines in crude output from OPEC and other major producers. Crude oil futures ended $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $52.59 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will provide November numbers for industrial and manufacturing production later today; in October, they were up an annual 4.2 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

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