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Malaysia Bourse Poised To Find Traction On Friday

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower in three straight sessions, sliding more than a dozen points or 0.7 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,620-point plateau although it's expected to halt its slide on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on rising crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were slightly higher and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

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

For the day, the index eased 1.17 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 1,619.73 after trading between 1,609.83 and 1,620.55. Volume was 2.9 billion shares worth 2.2 billion ringgit. There were 453 decliners and 397 gainers.

Among the actives, Maxis plummeted 2.17 percent, while Top Glove plunged 1.54 percent, Axiata tumbled 1.21 percent, AMMB Holdings surged 1.13 percent, Dialog Group soared 0.96 percent, IHH Healthcare skidded 0.90 percent, IOI Corporation sank 0.89 percent, Tenaga Nasional jumped 0.83 percent, RHB Capital collected 0.52 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong climbed 0.49 percent, Digi.com and Hong Leong Financial both shed 0.21 percent, Sime Darby Plantations lost 0.20 percent, Genting and Malaysia Airports Holdings both fell 0.15 percent, PPB Group, Petronas Gas and Petronas Chemicals all added 0.11 percent, Public Bank eased 0.09 percent and Genting Malaysia, Maybank, CIMB Group, Hartalega Holdings and Sime Darby all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks continued to show a lack of direction on Thursday before ending slightly higher.

The Dow added 110.00 points or 0.42 percent to 26,559.54, while the NASDAQ gained 1.98 points or 0.02 percent to 7,998.06 and the S&P rose 4.58 points or 0.16 percent to 2,905.03. For the holiday-shortened week, the Dow advanced 0.6 percent, the NASDAQ rose 0.2 percent and the S&P fell 0.1 percent.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders were reluctant to make significant moves going into the long Easter weekend.

They were also looking ahead to next week's quarterly earnings news from companies like Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG), Boeing (BA), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Intel (INTC), and Exxon Mobil (XOM).

In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales rebounded more than expected in March. Also, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims dipped last week to a nearly 50-year low.

Crude oil futures edged higher on Thursday, with traders weighing near term crude supply and demand prospects. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.24 or 0.4 percent at $64.00 a barrel.

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