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Malaysia Stock Market May Hand Back Support At 1,600 Points

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two straight sessions, collecting more than 20 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,610-point plateau although the rally may stall on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on coronavirus concerns, stimulus questions and falling oil prices. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished sharply higher on Tuesday following gains from the financial shares, industrial issues and telecoms.

For the day, the index jumped 18.46 points or 1.16 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,609.94 after trading as low as 1,593.24. Volume was 11.852 billion shares worth 7.245 billion ringgit. There were 631 gainers and 500 decliners.

Among the actives, Hartalega Holdings skyrocketed 8.74 percent, while Petronas Dagangan surged 6.11 percent, IHH Healthcare soared 5.21 percent, Top Glove spiked 2.01 percent, Genting Malaysia accelerated 1.75 percent, Maxis jumped 1.54 percent, Press Metal climbed 1.51 percent, Hong Leong Financial tumbled 1.46 percent, IOI Corporation gathered 1.33 percent, RHB Capital perked 1.01 percent, Sime Darby Plantations and Petronas Gas both advanced 0.98 percent, Digi.com added 0.95 percent, Petronas Chemicals skidded 0.65 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.56 percent, Dialog Group sank 0.53 percent, Axiata gained 0.31 percent, Genting shed 0.26 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong lost 0.25 percent, PPN Group rose 0.21 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings increased 0.20 percent, Tenaga Nasional fell 0.18 percent, Maybank and Hong Leong Bank both were up 0.13 percent, MISC eased 0.13 percent and Sime Darby, Public Bank and AMMB Holdings were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks moved mostly lower on Tuesday, largely offsetting the upward move seen in the previous session.

The Dow dropped 205.49 points or 0.77 percent to finish at 26,379.28, while the NASDAQ sank 134.18 points or 1.27 percent to end at 10,402.09 and the S&P 500 fell 20.97 points or 0.65 percent to finish at 3,218.44.

The pullback by stocks came as traders kept an eye on developments in Washington after Republicans unveiled their version of a new coronavirus relief bill. The GOP bill includes popular provisions like another $1,200 stimulus payment to American as well as more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

However, the legislation also slashes unemployment benefits and provides liability protections for businesses and doctors, which could lead to an impasse in negotiations with Democrats.

Negative sentiment was also generated by a report from the Conference Board showing consumer confidence fell more than expected in July.

Traders were also looking ahead to today's Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement. While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will look to the accompanying statement for clues about future plans to provide additional economic stimulus.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Tuesday amid concerns about the outlook for near term energy demand due to the surge in coronavirus cases and fears of fresh lockdown measures. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September slid $0.56 or 1.4 percent at $41.04 a barrel.

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