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Malaysia Stock Market May Spin Its Wheels On Tuesday

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two straight sessions, although it had picked up just 3 points or 0.2 percent in that span. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,525-point plateau although it may be stuck in neutral on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower, with technology stocks expected to weigh - although support from crude oil prices should limit the downside. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit.

The KLCI finished slightly higher on Monday as gains from the financials and plantations were offset by weakness from the telecoms and glove makers.

For the day, the index rose 1.33 points or 0.09 percent to finish at 1,526.87 after trading between 1,522.71 and 1,529.26. Volume was 2.451 billion shares worth 1.993 billion ringgit. There were 569 decliners and 373 gainers.

Among the actives, Axiata shed 0.25 percent, while CIMB Group jumped 1.18 percent, Dialog Group plummeted 4.59 percent, Digi.com sank 0.70 percent, Genting declined 0.60 percent, Genting Malaysia rose 0.33 percent, Hartalega Holdings tanked 1.56 percent, IHH Healthcare spiked 1.22 percent, IOI Corporation climbed 1.05 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong advanced 0.97 percent, Maybank collected 0.87 percent, Maxis retreated 0.66 percent, MISC fell 0.14 percent, Petronas Chemicals and PPB Group both fell 0.12 percent, Press Metal surged 2.50 percent, RHB Capital lost 0.19 percent, Sime Darby added 0.45 percent, Sime Darby Plantations soared 1.26 percent, Telekom Malaysia dropped 0.36 percent, Tenaga Nasional skidded 0.52 percent, Top Glove plunged 3.03 percent and MRDIY, Public Bank and Petronas Gas were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is not encouraging as the major averages opened higher on Monday but tumbled late in the day, with only the Dow managing to barely hang on to positive territory.

The Dow rose 17.27 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 35,619.25, while the NASDAQ plunged 202.68 points or 1.26 percent to close at 15,854.76 and the S&P fell 15.02 points or 0.32 percent to end at 4,682.94.

The mixed close on Wall Street came after President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve Chair. The White House also revealed that Biden intends to nominate current Fed Governor Lael Brainard as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve System.

While the re-nomination of Powell will give the Fed stability as it grapples with the economic recovery and elevated inflation, Brainard was seen as the more dovish choice.

Crude oil futures settled higher Monday despite rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to a surge in coronavirus cases in several countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December rose $0.81 or 1.1 percent at $76.75 a barrel.

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