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Malaysia Bourse May Extend Winning Streak

The Malaysia stock market has tracked higher in back-to-back trading days, gathering almost 15 points or 0.9 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,680-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on sound economic data and a spike in 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 Wednesday following gains from the financial shares and telecoms.

For the day, the index added 6.96 points or 0.42 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,678.24 after moving as low as 1,669.92. Volume was 4 billion shares worth 2.4 billion ringgit. There were 459 decliners and 421 gainers.

Among the actives, Axiata surged 3.94 percent, while Top Glove plummeted 3.14 percent, Hartalega Holdings plunged 2.97 percent, RHB Capital soared 2.84 percent, CIMB Group spiked 1.49 percent, IHH Healthcare jumped 1.03 percent, Maybank climbed 0.63 percent, Tenaga Nasional advanced 0.47 percent, IOI Corporation and PPB Group both skidded 0.44 percent, Digi.com added 0.44 percent, Petronas Chemicals gained 0.43 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.40 percent, Maxis lost 0.37 percent, Public Bank collected 0.33 percent, Dialog Group gathered 0.31 percent, Genting Malaysia was up 0.30 percent and Malaysia Airports Holdings, Sime Darby and Genting were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks opened higher on Wednesday. The major averages gave ground as the day progressed but still finished firmly in the green.

The Dow added 148.23 points or 0.58 percent to 25,702.89, while the NASDAQ gained 52.37 points or 0.69 percent to 7,643.41 and the S&P 500 rose 19.40 points or 0.69 percent to 2,810.92.

The strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to a Commerce Department report showing an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in January. Also, the Labor Department noted a modest increase in producer prices in February.

Oil prices rallied sharply on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories dropped last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $1.39 or 2.4 percent at $58.26 a barrel, the highest settlement in four months.

Closer to home, Malaysia will release January numbers for industrial production, manufacturing production and unemployment later today. In December, industrial production added 3.4 percent on year, while manufacturing production gained 4.4 percent on year and the jobless rate was 3.3 percent.

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