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Malaysia Stock Market May Extend Thursday's Gains

The Malaysia stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had collected almost 25 points or 1.6 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,595-point plateau and it's looking at another green light on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on easing geopolitical concerns in the Middle East. The European and U.S. markets finished higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the telecoms and plantations, while the financials came in mixed.

For the day, the index added 6.55 points or 0.41 percent to finish at 1,595.65 after trading between 1,589.98 and 1,599.01. Volume was 2.8 billion shares worth 1.9 billion ringgit. There were 601 gainers and 254 decliners.

Among the actives, Digi.com surged 2.92 percent, while Hong Leong Financial soared 2.59 percent, Petronas Chemicals plummeted 2.14 percent, AMMB Holdings spiked 2.11 percent, Genting accelerated 2.00 percent, Malaysia Airports plunged 1.97 percent, Genting Malaysia jumped 1.54 percent, CIMB Group climbed 1.35 percent, Maybank collected 1.29 percent, Press Metal tumbled 1.01 percent, Axiata Group advanced 0.95 percent, IHH Healthcare and Sime Darby both added 0.90 percent, RHB Capital skidded 0.86 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong gained 0.73 percent, Top Glove dropped 0.65 percent, IOI Corporation rose 0.64 percent, Tenaga Nasional increased 0.46 percent, Sime Darby Plantations perked 0.37 percent, Dialog Group shed 0.29 percent, Public Bank sank 0.20 percent and MISC and Hong Leong Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks saw continued upside on Thursday, propelling the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 212.08 points or 0.74 percent to 28,957.17, while the NASDAQ gained 74.18 points or 0.81 percent to 9,203.43 and the S&P 500 rose 21.65 points or 0.67 percent to 3,274.70.

Easing concerns about the conflict between the U.S. and Iran contributed to the continued strength on Wall Street amid signs of de-escalation.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity was subdued ahead of the release of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report later today.

Crude oil futures settled near four-week lows on Thursday as higher U.S. crude inventories and easing worries about U.S.-Iran standoff pushed prices down for a second straight session. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $0.05 or 0.03 percent at $59.56 a barrel, off the session's low of $58.66 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will release November data for industrial and manufacturing production later today; in October, they were up an annual 0.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

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