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Malaysia Stock Market Expected To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, slipping more than 8 points or 0.5 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,595-point plateau and it may be stuck in neutral on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a touch of upside on concerns over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Thursday following mixed performances from the financial shares and plantation stocks.

For the day, the index dipped 3.21 points or 0.20 percent to finish at 1,596.28 after trading between 1,592.65 and 1,599.17. Volume was 2.3 billion shares worth 1.5 billion ringgit. There were 461 decliners and 366 gainers.

Among the actives, IHH Healthcare plummeted 1.74 percent, while Genting Malaysia plunged 1.29 percent, Sime Darby tumbled 1.28 percent, Sime Darby Plantations skidded 1.22 percent, Maxis spiked 0.88 percent, Top Glove retreated 0.84 percent, Maybank declined 0.69 percent, Press Metal climbed 0.61 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.60 percent, Dialog Group dropped 0.57 percent, Genting sank 0.52 percent, IOI Corporation shed 0.45 percent, Digi.com lost 0.42 percent, Hartalega Holdings advanced 0.38 percent, RHB Capital fell 0.36 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong added 0.17 percent, Tenaga Nasional gained 0.15 percent, Petronas Chemicals rose 0.13 percent and Petronas Dagangan, PPB Group, Public Bank, Malaysia Airports Holdings and Axiata all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks opened higher on Thursday before giving ground later in the day, ending mixed and roughly flat.

The Dow fell 52.29 points or 0.19 percent to 27,094, while the NASDAQ rose 5.49 points or 0.07 percent to 8,182.88 and the S&P 500 added 0.06 points to end at 3,000.79.

The lackluster close on Wall Street came amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed lowered interest rates by 25 basis points as expected but indicated officials are mixed about whether the central bank should cut rates again before the end of the year.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest rebound in initial jobless claims last week, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve saw a modest slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in September.

Crude oil futures settled just marginally up on Thursday, despite moving up sharply early on in the session on continued geopolitical concerns. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for October ended up by 2 cents at $58.13 a barrel.

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