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Malaysia Shares Expected To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 20 points or 1.3 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,595-point plateau and it's expected to remain in that neighborhood again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on expectations of further stimulus. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Tuesday as losses from the telecoms were offset by support from the plantations and a mixed picture from the financials.

For the day, the index sank down 8.62 points or 0.54 percent to finish at 1,595.85 after trading between 1,589.78 and 1,597.78. Volume was 2.2 billion shares worth 1.9 billion ringgit. There were 458 decliners and 345 gainers.

Among the actives, Axiata Group cratered 15.78 points, while Digi.com plummeted 5.93 percent, Hartalega Holdings surged 2.91 percent, Sime Darby soared 1.74 percent, Maxis spiked 1.44 percent, Tenaga Nasional jumped 1.30 percent, Genting Malaysia and Maybank both climbed 1.26 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings perked 0.82 percent, MISC gathered 0.65 percent, CIMB Group skidded 0.60 percent, IHH Healthcare dropped 0.52 percent, Genting shed 0.51 percent, AMMB Holdings advanced 0.48 percent, Sime Darby Plantations added 0.41 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong gained 0.34 percent, IOI Corporation rose 0.23 percent, Top Glove was up 0.21 percent, Public Bank lost 0.20 percent, RHB Capital fell 0.18 percent, PPB Group eased 0.11 percent and Petronas Chemicals, Hong Leong Financial, Dialog Group, Press Metal and Hong Leong Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street continues to be murky as stocks saw another lackluster performance on Tuesday, eventually closing mixed and roughly flat for the third consecutive session.

The Dow added 73.92 points or 0.28 percent to 26,909.43, while the NASADQ fell 3.28 points or 0.04 percent to 8,084.16 and the S&P 500 rose 0.96 points or 0.03 percent to 2,979.39.

The early weakness on Wall Street reflected uncertainty ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy decision on Thursday as well as next week's Federal Reserve meeting. Both the ECB and the Fed are expected to cut interest rates in reaction to indications of a global slowdown.

The weaker than expected jobs data released last Friday raised concerns about the economic outlook but also reinforced expectations of another interest rate cut by the Fed next week.

Crude oil prices edged lower on Tuesday, with traders taking profits after recent strong gains and looking ahead to weekly inventory reports. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October were down $0.45 or 0.8 percent at $57.40 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will provide July numbers for industrial and manufacturing production later today; in June, they were up an annual 3.9 and 3.8, respectively.

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