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Malaysia Bourse Expected To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market headed south again on Friday, one session after it had ended the two-day slide in which it had fallen just a little more than 3 points. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index remains just beneath the 1,690-point plateau although it's expected to tick higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm thanks to surging oil prices and optimism for the outlook on global trade. The European and U.S. markets finished in the green and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.

The KLCI finished barely lower on Friday as losses from the financials were mitigated by support from the plantations.

For the day, the index eased 0.23 points or 0.01 percent to 1,688.83 after trading between 1,687.12 and 1,693.85. Volume was 3.1 billion shares worth 2 billion ringgit. There were 475 decliners and 354 gainers.

Among the actives, Dialog Group surged 5.35 percent, while IHH Healthcare plummeted 2.77 percent, CIMB Group plunged 1.38 percent, Sime Darby soared 1.38 percent, IOI Corporation spiked 1.32 percent, Maybank tumbled 0.84 percent, Digi.com jumped 0.66 percent, Genting skidded 0.56 percent, Petronas Chemical climbed 0.47 percent, Top Glove advanced 0.41 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong added 0.40 percent, Hartalega Holdings dropped 0.37 percent, Genting Malaysia gained 0.30 percent, Axiata shed 0.25 percent, Tenaga Nasional rose 0.15 percent and Hong Leong Bank, RHB Capital and Hap Seng were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved mostly higher on Friday as the major averages ended at multi-month closing highs.

The Dow jumped 443.86 points or 1.74 percent to 25,883.25, the NASDAQ added 45.46 points or 0.61 percent to 7,472.41 and the S&P 500 gained 29.87 points or 1.09 percent to 2,775.60. For the week, the Dow spiked 3.1 percent, the NASDAQ climbed 2.4 percent and the S&P rose 2.5 percent.

The strength on Wall Street came amid continued optimism about trade talks between the U.S. and China. A statement from the White House said high level U.S.-China trade talks this week led to progress between the two parties.

In economic news, the University of Michigan noted a bigger than expected rebound in consumer sentiment in February. Also, the Federal Reserve reported an unexpected decrease in industrial production in January.

Crude oil futures ended sharply higher on Friday, lifted by data showing declines in crude output from OPEC. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.18 or 2.2 percent at $55.59 a barrel, a three-month high.

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