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Malaysia Stock Market May Run Out Of Steam

The Malaysia stock market has moved higher in back-to-back trading days, advancing more than 15 points or 0.9 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,685-point plateau although the rally may stall on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild consolidation on profit taking and a drop in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses are expected to follow that lead.

The KLCI finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the plantation and entertainment stocks.

For the day, the index added 4.34 points or 0.26 percent to finish at 1,683.22 after trading between 1,676.75 and 1,684.99. Volume was 2.9 billion shares worth 2.2 billion ringgit. There were 569 gainers and 294 decliners.

Among the actives, Dialog Group surged 2.86 percent, while Top Glove Corporation soared 2.13 percent, RHB Capital collected 2.06 percent, Hartalega Holdings spiked 1.40 percent, Genting jumped 0.78 percent, IOI Corporation climbed 0.67 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong advanced 0.58 percent, IHH Healthcare shed 0.35 percent, Genting Malaysia added 0.31 percent, Axiata gained 0.25 percent, Digi.com rose 0.23 percent, Public Bank eased 0.16 percent and AMMB Holdings, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, CIMB Group, Sime Darby and Petronas Chemicals all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is slightly soft as stocks opened lower on Friday, staged a recovery in the afternoon but still finished barely in the red.

The Dow shed 5.97 points or 0.02 percent to 23,995.95, while the NASDAQ lost 14.59 points or 0.21 percent to 6,971.48 and the S&P 500 fell 0.38 points or 0.01 percent to 2,596.26. For the week, the Dow added 2.4 percent, the NASDAQ added 3.5 percent and the S&P rose 2.5 percent.

The early weakness on Wall Street was due to profit taking, with traders cashing in on gains from the five-day winning streak. Concerns about the ongoing government shutdown and skepticism about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China also weighed.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a slight drop in consumer prices in December, while core consumer priced ticked slightly higher.

Crude oil futures ended lower Friday, snapping a nine-day winning streak as profit taking and worries about the slowing Chinese economy weighed on the commodity. Crude oil futures ended down $1.00 or 1.9 percent at $51.59 a barrel.

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