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Malaysia Bourse Expected To Remain Rangebound

The Malaysia stock market headed south again on Friday, one day after it had ended the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 25 points or 1.6 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,495-point plateau although it may bounce higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to slightly higher, with hopes for stimulus tempered by climbing coronavirus cases. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Friday as losses from the telecoms, plantations and glove makers were mitigated by support from the financial sector.

For the day, the index dipped 4.16 points or 0.28 percent to finish at 1,494.64 after trading between 1,489.83 and 1,502.67. Volume was 6.925 billion shares worth 4.103 billion ringgit. There were 894 decliners and 311 gainers.

Among the actives, MISC surged 5.30 percent, while Petronas Dagangan plummeted 3.20 percent, Hartalega Holdings plunged 2.70 percent, Malaysia Airports Holdings soared 2.38 percent, Top Glove tanked 2.25 percent, AMMB Holdings tumbled 1.99 percent, Genting Malaysia spiked 1.99 percent, Public Bank rallied 1.80 percent, IHH Healthcare skidded 1.73 percent, Petronas Chemicals accelerated 1.71 percent, IOI Corporation retreated 1.59 percent, Sime Darby declined 1.21 percent, Axiata advanced 1.09 percent, Dialog Group surrendered 1.06 percent, Tenaga Nasional sank 0.89 percent, Sime Darby Plantations dropped 0.81 percent, Press Metal shed 0.71 percent, RHB Capital added 0.70 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.66 percent, PPB Group lost 0.52 percent, Maybank gained 0.28 percent, Digi.com fell 0.25 percent, Maxis slid 0.20 percent and Kuala Lumpur Kepong was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks showed a lack of direction on Friday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed.

The Dow eased 28.09 points or 0.10 percent to finish at 28,335.57, while the NASDAQ gained 42.28 points or 0.37 percent to end at 11,548.28 and the S&P 500 rose 11.90 points or 0.34 percent to close at 3,465.39. For the week, the Dow shed 0.9 percent, the NASDAQ lost 1.1 percent and the S&P fell 0.5 percent.

The choppy trading on Friday came amid a lack of concrete news out of Washington regarding a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Traders have generally remained optimistic that a bill will eventually be passed, although they may be tired of waiting.

A steep drop by shares of Intel (INTC) weighed on the Dow, with the semiconductor giant plunging 10.6 percent after reporting Q3 earnings that beat estimates but on weaker than expected revenues for its Data Center Group. Credit card giant American Express (AXP) also tumbled after reporting Q3 earnings that missed expectations.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, weighed down by worries about energy demand due to the surge in coronavirus cases and lockdown measures in several countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down by $0.79 or 1.9 percent at $39.85 a barrel.

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