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Mild Rebound Predicted For Malaysia Stock Market

The Malaysia stock market turned barely lower again on Thursday, one session after it had ended the two-day slide in which it had stumbled almost 25 points or 1.4 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index remains just above the 1,600-point plateau although it may tick higher again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic as Thursday's selloff on recession fears may have been overdone. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mostly higher - and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished barely lower on Thursday as losses from the financials were offset by support from the plantation stocks.

For the day, the index eased 0.02 points to finish at the daily high of 1,600.29 after moving as low as 1,581.26. Volume was 1.9 billion shares worth 1.9 billion ringgit. There were 612 decliners and 233 gainers.

Among the actives, Sime Darby Plantations surged 3.00 percent, while Petronas Chemicals plunged 1.50 percent, Genting Malaysia plummeted 1.29 percent, MISC tumbled 0.97 percent, Axiata jumped 0.81 percent, CIMB Group skidded 0.79 percent, Tenaga Nasional climbed 0.73 percent, RHB Capital dropped 0.72 percent, IOI Corporation advanced 0.71 percent, Maybank shed 0.47 percent, Dialog Group lost 0.28 percent, Top Glove fell 0.22 percent, Hartalega Holdings and Digi.com both eased 0.20 percent and Genting, Petronas Gas, PPB Group, Sime Darby, Public Bank and Hap Seng Consolidated all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually closing mixed.

The Dow added 99.97 points or 0.39 percent to 25,579.39, while the NASDAQ fell 7.32 points or 0.09 percent to 7,766.62 and the S&) 500 rose 7.00 points or 0.25 percent to 2,847.60.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders digested an avalanche of economic data, including mixed reports on retail sales and industrial output.

The Commerce Department reported U.S. retail sales climbed by much more than expected in July, but the Federal Reserve unexpectedly noted a modest drop in industrial production in July.

Also, the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserves saw continued growth in manufacturing activity in August, while the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week.

Crude oil prices saw further downside on Thursday, extending losses from the previous day on continued concerns about the outlook for global demand. China's threat to retaliate against U.S. tariffs weighed heavily on oil prices as West Texas Intermediate fell $0.48 or 0.87 percent to $54.47.

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