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Malaysia Bourse May Extend Friday's Gains

The Malaysia stock market on Friday wrote a finish to the three-day losing streak in which it had stumbled more than 30 points or 2 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,585-point plateau and it may move slightly higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests a touch of upside, with stimulus optimism tempered by inflation concerns. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed and flat - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Friday as gains from the financials and telecoms were capped by weakness from the glove makers.

For the day, the index gained 9.09 points or 0.58 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,584.93 after trading as low as 1,573.84. Volume was 14.366 billion shares worth 6.361 billion ringgit. There were 653 decliners and 581 gainers.

Among the actives, Supermax plummeted 3.33 percent, while MISC surged 2.97 percent, CIMB Group soared 2.91 percent, Hartalega Holdings plunged 2.58 percent, Axiata spiked 2.43 percent, Press Metal and Kuala Lumpur Kepong both accelerated 2.06 percent, Sime Darby rallied 1.86 percent, Maxis jumped 1.71 percent, Maybank climbed 1.26 percent, Genting Malaysia gathered 1.10 percent, Dialog Group perked 0.94 percent, Digi.com advanced 0.81 percent, Telekom Malaysia added 0.62 percent, PPB Group gained 0.55 percent, Public Bank and Hong Leong Financial both collected 0.49 percent, IOI Corporation rose 0.47 percent, Top Glove sank 0.33 percent, Tenaga Nasional increased 0.30 percent, Petronas Chemicals improved 0.27 percent, Sime Darby Plantations and IHH Healthcare both lost 0.20 percent, RHB Capital was up 0.18 percent and Genting was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is uninspired as stocks were unable to hold early gains on Friday, finishing on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The Dow rose 1.02 points or 0.01 percent to finish at 31,494.32, while the NASDAQ added 9.11 points or 0.07 percent to end at 13,874.46 and the S&P 500 dipped 7.26 points or 0.19 percent to close at 3,906.71. For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 percent, the NASDAQ sank 1.6 percent and the S&P fell 0.7 percent.

Continued optimism about more fiscal stimulus fueled the early strength on Wall Street, as new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. urged lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package.

However, buying interest waned amid a jump in treasury yields, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reading its highest closing level in almost a year - spurring concerns for the outlook for interest rates amid potentially higher inflation.

In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported another unexpected increase in U.S. existing home sales in January.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Friday as worries about supply disruptions eased after most of the oil companies in Texas prepared to resume production. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended lower by $1.28 or 2.1 percent at $59.24 a barrel.

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