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Additional Support Called For Malaysia Stock Market

The Malaysia stock market bounced higher again on Tuesday, one session after it had ended the four-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 30 points or 2 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,550-point plateau and it may find continued if mild upside again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside, thanks to a rebound in crude oil prices. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed and flat and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Tuesday following gains from the financial shares and plantation stocks.

For the day, the index added 8.68 points or 0.56 percent to finish at 1,551.48 after trading between 1,543.23 and 1,554.67. Volume was 2.8 billion shares worth 2.3 billion ringgit. There were 462 gainers and 372 decliners.

Among the actives, Petronas Chemicals surged 4.23 percent, while Sime Darby soared 1.85 percent, Axiata accelerated 1.63 percent, Genting Malaysia spiked 1.35 percent, IHH Healthcare tumbled 1.21 percent, Hartalega Holdings jumped 1.18 percent, Tenaga Nasional climbed 1.12 percent, AMMB Holdings perked 1.04 percent, Sime Darby Plantations gathered 0.77 percent, Genting advanced 0.75 percent, Maybank collected 0.71 percent, IOI Corporation added 0.67 percent, MISC sank 0.62 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong gained 0.51 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings dropped 0.43 percent, Press Metal shed 0.40 percent, RHB Capital rose 0.35 percent, Top Glove fell 0.35 percent, Digi.com dipped 0.23 percent, CIMB Group increased 0.20 percent, Public Bank and PPB Group both were up 0.11 percent and Hong Leong Financial and Dialog Group were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks opened higher on Tuesday but faded as the day progressed, finally ending mixed but little changed.

The Dow eased 0.48 points or 0.01 percent to 29,276.34, while the NASDAQ added 10.55 points or 0.11 percent to 9,638.94 and the S&P 500 rose 5.66 points or 0.17 percent to 3,357.75.

The early upward move on Wall Street came as traders continued to shrug off concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak but also highlighted the resilience of the U.S. economy.

Crude oil prices edged higher Tuesday, rebounding from recent losses on reports the number of new cases coronavirus cases is slowing down. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March ended up $0.37 or 0.8 percent at $49.94 a barrel.

Closer to home, Malaysia will release Q4 numbers for gross domestic product and current account later today. In the three months prior, GDP was up 0.9 percent on quarter and 4.0 percent on year, while the current account showed a surplus of 11.45 billion ringgit.

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