Malaysia Shares Tipped To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two of three trading days since the end of the four-day losing streak in which it had fallen more than a dozen points or 0.8 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index remains just beneath the 1,680-point plateau and it's expected to see little movement again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with any upside limited by sliding crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

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

For the day, the index added 0.29 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 1,679.26 after trading between 1,674.70 and 1,681.78. Volume was 3.2 billion shares worth 2.2 billion ringgit. There were 501 gainers and 329 decliners.

Among the actives, Dialog Group surged 2.66 percent, while Sime Darby plummeted 1.28 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong plunged 0.90 percent, Top Glove tumbled 0.84 percent, RHB Capital soared 0.70 percent, MISC spiked 0.69 percent, Public Bank skidded 0.52 percent, Sime Darby Plantations dropped 0.41 percent, Genting Malaysia shed 0.30 percent, Hartalega Holdings lost 0.19 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.19 percent, Petronas Chemicals and Petronas Gas both sank 0.12 percent, Maybank rose 0.11 percent and Malaysia Airports Holdings, IHH Healthcare, Axiata Group, AMMB Holdings, IOI Corporation and Digi.com all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks fluctuated Thursday before ending mixed, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The Dow added 227.88 points or 0.85 percent to 27,088.08, while the NASDAQ fell 6.49 points or 0.08 percent to 8,196.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.23 percent to 2,999.91.

The advance by the Dow was fueled by health insurers on news that President Donald Trump is abandoning a plan to eliminate rebates from government drug plans. The proposal faced stiff resistance from pharmacy-benefit managers, and pharmaceutical stocks tumbled on the news

In economic news, the Labor Department reported an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices in June. The Labor Department also said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell in the week ended July 6.

Crude oil futures turned weak after a solid start on Thursday, weighed down by a downward revision in demand forecast by OPEC. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended down $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $60.20 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will see May numbers for industrial production, manufacturing production and unemployment later today. In April, industrial production was up 4.0 percent on year, while manufacturing production climbed 4.3 percent on year and the jobless rate was 3.4 percent.

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