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Malaysia Stock Market: Strong Resistance At 1,700 Points

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in consecutive trading days, collecting almost 10 points or 0.6 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,695-point plateau although it may run out of steam on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly lower on global growth concerns and sliding oil prices. The European and U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that lead.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials and mixed performances from the telecoms and industrials.

For the day, the index picked up 9.78 points or 0.58 percent to finish at 1,693.39 after trading between 1,685.66 and 1,693.48. Volume was 1.4 billion shares worth 1.2 billion ringgit. There were 443 gainers and 261 decliners.

Among the actives, MISC surged 3.88 percent, while Tenaga Nasional soared 3.71 percent, Axiata plummeted 2.99 percent, Genting spiked 2.15 percent, RHB Capital jumped 1.09 percent, Genting Malaysia climbed 0.91 percent, Sime Darby tumbled 0.89 percent, AMMB Holdings skidded 0.88 percent, Digi.com dropped 0.43 percent, Petronas Chemicals shed 0.24 percent, Maybank and Top Glove both added 0.21 percent, IHH Healthcare dipped 0.18 percent, Public Bank collected 0.16 percent and IOI Corporation, CIMB Group, Dialog Group and PPB Group were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is weak as stocks opened lower on Thursday and crept further into the red as the day progressed - extending losses from the previous session.

The Dow shed 220.77 points or 0.87 percent to 25,169, while the NASDAQ lost 86.93 points or 1.18 percent to 7,288.93 and the S&P 500 fell 25.56 points or 0.94 percent to 2,706.05.

Renewed concerns about a U.S.-China trade deal generated selling pressure after reports said President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are "highly unlikely" to meet before March 2 - when tariffs on Chinese goods are set to jump automatically.

Worries about the U.S.-China trade talks added to concerns about the global economy after the European Commission lowered its eurozone growth forecast. The downgrade reflected external factors, such as trade tensions, the uncertainty concerning Brexit and the slowdown in emerging markets, notably in China.

Crude oil prices declined on Thursday on concerns of demand growth due to the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended down $1.37 or 2.5 percent at $52.64 a barrel, the lowest settlement in more than a week.

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