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Malaysia Stock Market Likely To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market on Thursday halted the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 15 points or 0.9 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,675-point plateau and it's expected to see little movement again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a touch of weakness on global trade concerns. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets are expected to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Thursday following losses from the plantations and a mixed bag from the financial sector.

For the day, the index dipped 3.72 points or 0.22 percent to finish at 1,674.52 after trading between 1,673.47 and 1,678.88. Volume was 4.3 billion shares worth 2.6 billion ringgit. There were 491 gainers and 400 decliners.

Among the actives, Top Glove surged 1.85 percent, while Axiata plummeted 1.42 percent, Hartalega Holdings soared 1.09 percent, Genting Malaysia spiked 0.89 percent, Maxis tumbled 0.75 percent, RHB Capital jumped 0.69 percent, IOI Corporation skidded 0.67 percent, Maybank dropped 0.63 percent, Petronas Chemicals retreated 0.54 percent, Tenaga Nasional declined 0.47 percent, Sime Darby shed 0.46 percent, Digi.com lost 0.44 percent, Genting fell 0.43 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.37 percent, IHH Healthcare sank 0.34 percent, Public Bank and Kuala Lumpur Kepong slid 0.16 percent and AMMB Holdings, Dialog Group and Hong Leong Financial were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks showed a lack or direction on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the session mixed.

The Dow added 7.05 points or 0.03 percent to 25,709, while the NASDAQ fell 12.50 points or 0.16 percent to 7,630.91 and the S&P 500 lost 2.44 points or 0.09 percent to 2,808.48.

The choppy trading on Wall Street followed uncertainty about Brexit, with members of parliament voting in favor of delaying Brexit after they rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a deal.

Renewed concerns about a potential trade deal between the U.S. and China weighed on the markets after reports said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping has been pushed back.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported a substantial pullback in new home sales in January. A separate report from the Labor Department showed U.S. import and export prices both rose more than anticipated in February.

Crude oil prices edged higher Thursday, extending gains to a fourth successive session, on data that showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $0.35 or 0.6 percent at $58.61 a barrel, a fresh high since mid-November.

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