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Malaysia Stock Market May Extend Wednesday's Gains

The Malaysia stock market on Wednesday halted the three-day slide in which it had fallen almost 15 points or 0.9 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,585-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside after the U.S. and China signed phase one of their trade deal - although the upside had already largely been priced in. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were slightly higher and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished slightly higher on Wednesday following mixed performances from the financials, plantations and industrials.

For the day, the index rose 4.54 points or 0.29 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,585.14 after moving as low as 1,573.92. Volume was 2.5 billion shares worth 1.7 billion ringgit. There were 471 decliners and 339 gainers.

Among the actives, press Metal surged 4.04 percent, while Top Glove soared 3.00 percent, Public Bank spiked 2.19 percent, Maxis accelerated 2.18 percent, AMMB Holdings jumped 1.56 percent, Dialog Group plunged 1.45 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings climbed 1.29 percent, Digi.com tumbled 0.88 percent, Petronas Chemicals skidded 0.85 percent, MISC dropped 0.61 percent, Maybank retreated 0.58 percent, IOI Corporation declined 0.43 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong sank 0.41 percent, Hartalega Holdings advanced 0.37 percent, IHH Healthcare shed 0.36 percent, Genting added 0.33 percent, Genting Malaysia gained 0.30 percent, Axiata lost 0.24 percent, RHB Capital fell 0.24 percent and Sime Darby Plantations, Petronas Gas, Sime Darby. CIMB Group and Tenaga Nasional all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks opened higher on Wednesday, faded as the day progressed but still ended in the green.

The Dow added 90.55 points or 0.31 percent to finish at 29,030.22, while the NASDAQ gained 7.37 points or 0.08 percent to 9,258.70 and the S&P 500 rose 6.14 points or 0.19 percent to 3,289.29.

The early strength on Wall Street came as traders awaited the signing of the trade deal between the U.S. and China. But stocks pulled back after the agreement was signed in a ceremony at the White House.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest increase in U.S. producer prices in December. Also, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book said U.S. economic activity generally continued to expand modestly in the final six weeks of 2019.

Crude oil prices drifted lower and settled at a six-week low on Wednesday after data showed a big increase in gasoline and distillate stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures (WTI) for February ended down $0.42 or 0.7 percent at $57.81 a barrel.

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