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Soft Start Predicted For Malaysia Stock Market

The Malaysia stock market has finished lower in consecutive trading days, slumping more than 20 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,440-point plateau and it may extend its losses on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative on recession fears and concern over the outlook for interest rates. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares and glove makers, while the plantations and telecoms were mixed.

For the day, the index slipped 8.02 points or 0.55 percent to finish at 1,439.16 after trading between 1,435.76 and 1,448.51. Volume was 2.167 billion shares worth 1.679 billion ringgit. There were 447 decliners and 372 gainers.

Among the actives, CIMB Group and Petronas Chemicals both weakened 1.28 percent, while Dialog Group advanced 0.93 percent, Digi.com retreated 1.44 percent, Genting and Sime Darby both sank 0.45 percent, Genting Malaysia surrendered 1.72 percent, Hartalega Holdings plummeted 3.23 percent, IHH Healthcare declined 1.64 percent, INARI climbed 1.12 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong eased 0.09 percent, Maybank shed 0.23 percent, MISC stumbled 1.40 percent, MRDIY added 0.50 percent, PPB Group tanked 2.34 percent, Press Metal plunged 2.90 percent, Public Bank lost 0.23 percent, RHB Capital dropped 0.35 percent, Sime Darby Plantations gained 0.92 percent, Telekom Malaysia slumped 1.36 percent, Tenaga Nasional rose 0.23 percent, Top Glove tumbled 2.33 percent and Axiata, IOI Corporation, Maxis, Hong Leong Financial and Petronas Dagangan were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street continues to be weak as the major averages opened lower on Thursday and remained in the red throughout the session.

The Dow shed 107.10 points or 0.35 percent to finish at 30,076.68, while the NASDAQ tumbled 153.39 points or 1.37 percent to end at 11,066.81 and the S&P 500 sank 31.94 points or 0.84 percent to close at 3,757.99.

The weakness on Wall Street reflected continued concerns about the economic outlook following the Federal Reserve's third straight 75-basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday.

While the Fed's economic projections provided a clearer outlook for future rate hikes, traders are concerned about the impact the aggressive rate increases will have on the economy. Several other central banks around the world followed the Fed's lead, including the Bank of England, which raised interest rates by 50 basis points in a split decision.

In economic news, Labor Department reported an uptick in jobless claims last week, while the Conference Board said its leading economic index fell by 0.3 percent in August after sliding by a revised 0.5 percent in July.

Crude oil prices settled higher on Thursday on concerns about tight supplies amid geopolitical tensions in Russia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended higher by $0.55 or 0.7 percent at $83.49 a barrel.

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