Malaysia Stocks May See Renewed Selling Pressure On Friday

The Malaysia stock market bounced higher again on Thursday, one session after ending the three-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than 30 points or 1.9 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,570-point plateau although it figures to head south again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower, with oil and technology stocks likely to drag the markets to the downside. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday following mixed performances from the financial shares and plantation stocks.

For the day, the index added 6.31 points or 0.40 percent to finish at 1,569.51 after trading between 1,560.29 and 1,570.14. Volume was 3.457 billion shares worth 2.142 billion ringgit. There were 642 decliners and 343 gainers.

Among the actives, CIMB Group collected 0.54 percent, while Dialog Group surged 2.84 percent, Genting retreated 0.85 percent, Hartalega Holdings plunged 2.89 percent, INARI plummeted 3.26 percent, IOI Corporation lost 0.25 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.09 percent, Maybank climbed 1.07 percent, MISC dipped 0.14 percent, MRDIY shed 0.27 percent, Petronas Chemicals rallied 1.67 percent, PPB Group perked 0.84 percent, Press Metal jumped 1.81 percent, Public Bank fell 0.24 percent, RHB Capital soared 2.79 percent, Sime Darby sank 0.44 percent, Sime Darby Plantations spiked 2.02 percent, Telekom Malaysia advanced 0.57 percent, Tenaga Nasional added 0.33 percent, Top Glove tumbled 1.24 percent and Maxis, IHH Healthcare, Axiata, Digi.com, Genting Malaysia and Nestle were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as the major averages opened higher on Thursday but gradually faded into the red as the day progressed.

The Dow dropped 176.70 points or 0.49 percent to finish at 36,113.62, while the NASDAQ plummeted 381.58 points or 2.51 percent to end at 14,806.58 and the S&P 500 sank 67.32 points or 1.42 percent to close at 4,659.03.

The sharp pullback by the NASDAQ came as traders cashed in on recent strength in the tech sector. Tech stocks got off to a rocky start in the New Year amid concerns about higher interest rates but regained some ground earlier this week.

Traders were also digesting another reading on U.S. inflation, with a report from the Labor Department showing only a slight uptick in U.S. producer prices last month. A separate report from the Labor Department showed an increase in initial jobless claims last week.

Crude oil prices gave ground on Thursday as investors cashed in on recent gains that led to a two-month closing high. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery slid $0.52 or 0.6 percent to $82.12 a barrel after jumping $1.42 or 1.7 percent to $82.64 a barrel in the previous session.

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