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Malaysia Stock Market May Extend Winning Streak

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in three straight sessions, accelerating almost 70 points or 5.3 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,330-point plateau and it's called higher again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on the expectation of massive stimulus relief for the coronavirus pandemic. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit.

The KLCI finished slightly higher on Thursday as gains from the industrials were offset by weakness from the financials and a mixed picture from the plantations.

For the day, the index rose 3.59 points or 3.59 percent to finish at 1,328.09 after trading between 1,309.21 and 1,336.74. Volume was 3.504 billion shares worth 2.259 billion ringgit. There were 540 gainers and 295 decliners.

Among the actives, IHH Healthcare surged 5.49 percent, while Digi.com soared 3.37 percent, Petronas Chemicals spiked 3.10 percent, Sime Darby plummeted 2.33 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings plunged 2.22 percent, Hartalega Holdings accelerated 1.35 percent, IOI Corporation jumped 1.33 percent, Public Bank tumbled 1.15 percent, AMMB Holdings skidded 1.02 percent, RHB Capital climbed 1.02 percent, Tenaga Nasional advanced 0.99 percent, Axiata retreated 0.87 percent, Genting gathered 0.87 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong declined 0.77 percent, Press Metal dropped 0.67 percent, CIMB Group sank 0.57 percent, Maybank shed 0.41 percent, MISC lost 0.26 percent, Maxis fell 0.19 percent and Petronas Dagangan, Sime Darby Plantations, Dialog Group, Top Glove, Genting Malaysia and Hong Leong Bank all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly positive as stocks opened higher on Thursday and extended gains as the session progressed.

The Dow surged 1,351.62 points or 6.38 percent to finish at 22,552.17, while the NASDAQ added 413.24 points or 5.60 percent to 7,797.54 and the S&P 500 jumped 154.51 points or 6.24 percent to 2,630.07.

The rally on Wall Street came even though the Labor Department reported that first-time claims for unemployment benefits soared last week, as large swaths of the U.S. economy were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any negative sentiment also seems to have been offset by last night's news that the Senate finally voted to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican Senate passed the bill unanimously and it now moves to the House, which is expected to pass the legislation later today and send it on to President Trump.

Crude oil prices declined sharply and closed lower for the first time in four sessions as concerns about outlook for energy demand weighed on the commodity. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $1.89 or 7.7 percent at $22.60 a barrel.

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