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Malaysia Stock Market May Extend Friday's Losses

The Malaysia stock market headed south again on Friday, one session after snapping the three-day slide in which it had retreated more than 25 points or 1.7 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,575-point plateau and it may take further damage on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower on concerns over bond yields and sliding crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mixed with a soft bias and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that lead.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Friday following losses from the glove makers and plantations, while the financials and telecoms were mixed.

For the day, the index dipped 3.79 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 1,577.75 after trading between 1,563.56 and 1,586.23. Volume was 9.817 billion shares worth 7.005 billion ringgit. There were 931 decliners and 317 gainers.

Among the actives, Axiata sank 0.56 percent, while Dialog Group advanced 0.62 percent, Digi.com and Telekom Malaysia both tanked 1.44 percent, Genting shed 0.43 percent, Genting Malaysia lost 0.34 percent, Hartalega Holdings skidded 1.38 percent, IHH Healthcare and Tenaga Nasional both slid 0.20 percent, IOI Corporation dropped 0.47 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong jumped 0.95 percent, Maybank declined 0.74 percent, Maxis rallied 1.28 percent, MISC rose 0.15 percent, Petronas Chemicals plummeted 4.50 percent, PPB Group spiked 1.95 percent, Press Metal perked 0.31 percent, Public Bank fell 0.24 percent, RHB Capital collected 0.56 percent, Sime Darby surged 3.18 percent, Sime Darby Plantations tumbled 1.41 percent, Supermax plunged 3.01 percent, Top Glove retreated 1.13 percent and CIMB Group was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is volatile after the major averages saw wild swings on Friday, finally finishing on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The Dow tumbled 469.64 points or 1.50 percent to finish at 30,932.37, while the NASDAQ gained 72.92 points or 0.56 percent to close at 13,192.35 and the S&P 500 fell 18.19 points or 0.48 percent to close at 3,811.15. For the week, the NASDAQ plummeted 4.9 percent, the S&P sank 2.4 percent and the Dow lost 1.8 percent.

The volatility came as traders watched the bond markets following the recent spike in yields. Yields also fluctuated as the day progressed, rebounding near the unchanged line after seeing early weakness before moving to the downside.

The fluctuations in the bond markets followed another batch of upbeat U.S. economic data. The Commerce Department said U.S. personal income skyrocketed in January, reflecting the issuance of $600 stimulus checks.

But the report also showed inflation remained relatively tame. Concerns about inflation have weighed on treasuries despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell's repeated assurances the central bank plans to maintain interest rates at near-zero levels for the foreseeable future.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Friday as the dollar gained strength amid rising bond yields and solid economic data. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $2.03 or 3.2 percent at $61.50 a barrel.

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