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Renewed Support Predicted For Malaysia Stock Market

The Malaysia stock market headed south again on Wednesday, one session after it had ended the four-day losing streak in which it had fallen more than a dozen points or 0.8 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,680-point plateau although it's likely to bounce higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat in surging crude oil prices and renewed optimism for the outlook on interest rates. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up - and the Asian markets also figure to open higher.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Wednesday following losses from the plantations and industrials, while the financials came in mixed.

For the day, the index sank 3.90 points or 0.23 percent to finish at 1,678.97 after trading between 1,674.13 and 1,682.87. Volume was 2.2 billion shares worth 2 billion ringgit. There were 434 decliners and 329 gainers.

Among the actives, Petronas Chemicals plummeted 2.21 percent, while Petronas Dagangan plunged 2.11 percent, AMMB Holdings tumbled 0.92 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings soared 0.80 percent, Genting skidded 0.75 percent, Tenaga Nasional dropped 0.72 percent, IOI Corporation climbed 0.47 percent, Sime Darby advanced 0.43 percent, Sime Darby Plantations shed 0.41 percent, CIMB Group lost 0.37 percent, Genting Malaysia and Dialog Group both added 0.30 percent, Public Bank collected 0.26 percent, Digi.com sank 0.20 percent, Axiata and Hartalega both gained 0.19 percent, IHH Healthcare rose 0.17 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong eased 0.16 percent and PPB Group, Maybank and Hong Leong Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks opened higher on Wednesday, gave ground in the afternoon but still finished in the green.

The Dow added 76.71 points or 0.29 percent to 26,860.20, while the NASDAQ gained 60.80 points or 0.75 percent to 8,202.53 and the S&P 500 rose 13.44 points or 0.45 percent to 2,993.07.

Early buying interest was generated by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks before the House Financial Services Committee. Powell told lawmakers that crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have continued to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook since the central bank's June meeting.

Powell's comments led to renewed optimism about a potential rate cut by the Fed at its next meeting later this month. Mirroring Powell's remarks, the minutes of the central bank's June meeting released later in the day said many participants believe the case for lowering interest rates has strengthened.

Crude oil prices rose sharply Wednesday after data showed a larger than expected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended up $2.60 or 4.5 percent at $60.43 a barrel, a seven-week high.

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