Malaysia Stock Market May Hand Back Friday's Gains

The Malaysia stock market has moved higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had stumbled more than 25 points or 1.7 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,545-point plateau although it's likely to head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild consolidation following Friday's mixed jobs report from the United States. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourse were down and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the financials, telecoms, plantations and glove makers.

For the day, the index gained 9.75 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 1,543.11 after trading between 1,531.54 and 1,543.17. Volume was 4.141 billion shares worth 1.904 billion ringgit. There were 600 gainers and 338 decliners.

Among the actives, Axiata skidded 0.52 percent, while CIMB Group rose 0.55 percent, Dialog Group jumped 1.12 percent, Digi.com improved 0.25 percent, Genting retreated 1.06 percent, Hartalega Holdings spiked 1.92 percent, IHH Healthcare fell 0.30 percent, INARI sank 0.51 percent, IOI Corporation soared 3.47 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong rallied 1.20 percent, Maybank collected 0.24 percent, Maxis gathered 0.91 percent, MISC added 0.72 percent, MRDIY accelerated 1.35 percent, Petronas Chemicals gained 0.69 percent, Press Metal and Sime Darby both perked 0.88 percent, Public Bank climbed 0.97 percent, RHB Capital increased 0.37 percent, Sime Darby Plantations surged 3.96 percent, Telekom Malaysia tumbled 1.29 percent, Tenaga Nasional advanced 0.77 percent, Top Glove jumped 1.23 percent and Genting Malaysia, PPB Group and Petronas Dagangan were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as the major averages opened lower on Friday and then saw wild swings both ways before finally finishing the session in the red.

The Dow dipped 4.84 points or 0.01 percent to finish at 36,231,66, while the NASDAQ sank 145.00 points or 0.96 percent to end at 14,935.90 and the S&P 500 fell 19.02 points or 0.41 percent to close at 4,677.03. For the week, the NASDAQ plunged 4.5 percent, the S&P slumped 1.9 percent and the Dow dipped 0.3 percent.

The continued pullback on Wall Street followed the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report. While the report showed much weaker than expected job growth in the month of December, the unemployment rate still fell by more than expected.

Economists have indicated the report is not likely to alter the Fed's plans to accelerate monetary policy normalization.

Traders subsequently seem concerned the Fed will be raising rates at a time of slowing economic growth as a result of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, but still finished the week with a strong gain on supply concerns amid escalating unrest in Kazakhstan and outages in Libya. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down by $0.56 or 0.7 percent at $78.90 a barrel. WTI Crude futures gained 4.9 percent in the week.

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