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Malaysia Bourse Tipped To Halt Losing Streak

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower in two straight sessions, easing almost 5 points or 0.3 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,640-point plateau although it may stop the bleeding on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic on optimism over interest rates and a mild bump in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were slightly higher and the Asian markets are tipped to follow suit.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Wednesday following mixed performances from the financials, telecoms and industrials.

For the day, the index dipped 2.48 points or 0.15 percent to finish at 1,639.46 after trading between 1,635.89 and 1,642.13. Volume was 3.3 billion shares worth 2.4 billion ringgit. There were 441 gainers and 371 decliners.

Among the actives, Malaysia Airports Holdings plummeted 2,74 percent, while Hartalega Holdings plunged 1.26 percent, Petronas Chemicals tumbled 1.10 percent, Axiata skidded 0.95 percent, IHH Healthcare jumped 0.72 percent, Genting dropped 0.59 percent, RHB Capital climbed 0.53 percent, Top Glove shed 0.44 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong lost 0.32 percent, Dialog Group fell 0.31 percent, Public Bank collected 0.27 percent, AMMB Holdings slid 0.22 percent, Maybank dipped 0.22 percent, CIMB Group eased 0.20 percent, Tenaga Nasional sank 0.16 percent and Genting Malaysia, Digi.com, IOI Corporation, Maxis and Sime Darby all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street suggests mild upside as stocks moved slightly higher on Wednesday amid subdued buying interest.

The Dow added 6.58 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 26,157.16, while the NASDAQ gained 54.96 points or 0.69 percent to 7,964.24 and the S&P 500 rose 10.01 points or 0.35 percent to 2,888.21.

The higher close on Wall Street came after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting suggested the outlook for interest rates remains fluid. However, future rate decisions would depend on ongoing assessments of the economic outlook and potential risks.

In economic news, the Labor Department said that a spike in energy prices contributed to a slightly bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in March.

Crude oil futures settled higher Wednesday as a sharp decline in U.S. gasoline stocks offset a surge in crude stockpiles last week. Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.63 or 0.98 percent at $64.61 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will release February data for industrial and manufacturing production later today; in January, they were up an annual 3.2 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

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