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Malaysia Stocks Likely To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four 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 now rests just beneath the 1,670-point plateau although it figures to bounce higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on continued optimism over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were firmly higher and the Asian markets are expected to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Friday following losses from the financial shares, plantation stocks and industrial issues.

For the day, the index fell 9.81 points or 0.58 percent to finish at 1,669.45 after trading between 1,668.99 and 1,682.04. Volume was 2.9 billion shares worth 2.3 billion ringgit. There were 453 decliners and 401 gainers.

Among the actives, CIMB Group plummeted 2.62 percent, while Dialog Group plunged 2.59 percent, Sime Darby tumbled 0.87 percent, Sime Darby Plantations skidded 0.62 percent, IOI Corporation sank 0.47 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings dropped 0.45 percent, Top Glove shed 0.42 percent, RHB Capital lost 0.35 percent, IHH Healthcare and Maybank both fell 0.34 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong dipped 0.33 percent, Genting slid 0.30 percent, Tenaga Nasional eased 0.29 percent, Petronas Chemicals added 0.24 percent, Public Bank was down 0.17 percent, MISC rose 0.14 percent and Genting Malaysia, Digi.com. AMMB Holdings, Axiata and Hartalega Holdings all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks opened higher Friday and remained in the green as the major averages extended recent gains and set fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 243.95 points or 0.90 percent to 27,332.03, while the NASDAQ gained 48.10 points or 0.59 percent to 8,244.14 and the S&P 500 rose 13.86 points or 0.46 percent to 3,013.77. For the week, the Dow surged 1.5 percent, the NASDAQ climbed 1 percent and the S&P rose 0.8 percent.

The markets continued to benefit from renewed optimism about the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates as soon as its next meeting later this month following comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trading activity was somewhat subdued, however, as traders brace for the unofficial start of earnings season this week.

Crude oil futures ended flat on Friday as traders weighed near term prospects for energy demand and supply. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended at $60.21 a barrel, up just a penny over previous close. or the week, oil futures gained about 4.7 percent.

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