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Losses May Accelerate For Malaysia Stock Market

The Malaysia stock market on Thursday ended the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than 15 points or 1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,635-point plateau and it may extend its losses on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on mixed earnings news and sliding crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Thursday as losses from the financials were offset by gains from the plantations and telecoms.

For the day, the index dipped 2.33 points or 0.14 percent to finish at 1,635.68 after trading between 1,632.51 and 1,640.13. Volume was 3.6 billion shares worth 2.5 billion ringgit. There were 464 decliners and 407 gainers.

Among the actives, Genting surged 2.77 percent, while Hartalega Holdings plummeted 1.94 percent, Tenaga Nasional plunged 1.46 percent, Axiata soared 1.27 percent, CIMB Group tumbled 1.14 percent, IHH Healthcare skidded 1.07 percent, Dialog Group spiked 0.61 percent, IOI Corporation jumped 0.45 percent, Sime Darby climbed 0.43 percent, Genting Malaysia advanced 0.31 percent, Petronas Chemicals added 0.22 percent, Public Bank shed 0.18 percent, Petronas Dagangan and RHB Capital both gained 0.17 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.16 percent, Maybank dipped 0.11 percent and Digi.com and Sime Darby Plantations were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks saw considerable volatility on Thursday, showing wild swings before ending the session on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The Dow shed 134.97 points or 0.51 percent to 26,462.08, while the NASDAQ added 16.67 points or 0.21 percent to 8,118.68 and the S&P 500 fell 1.08 points or 0.04 percent to 2,926.17.

A steep drop by shares of 3M (MMM) weighed on the Dow after the company reported weaker than expected first quarter results and lowered its full-year guidance. On the other hand, shares of Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) boosted the tech-heavy NASDAQ after beating the street.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders jumped more than expected in March, reflecting a significant rebound in orders for transportation equipment. Also, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rebounded more than expected in the week ended April 20.

Crude oil futures ended lower Thursday, extending losses after the Energy Information Administration reported an increase in crude inventory in the U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down $0.68 or 1 percent at $65.21 a barrel.

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