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Renewed Selling Pressure Likely For Malaysia Shares

Ahead of Monday's Malaysia Day holiday, the Malaysia stock market had alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last six trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 20 points or 1.3 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,600-point plateau, although it's expected to slide back beneath that level on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative thanks to geopolitical concerns in the Middle East and the resulting spike in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.

The KLCI finished barely higher on Friday as gains from the financials and plantations were offset by weakness from the industrials.

For the day, the index rose 0.25 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 1,601.25 after trading between 1,596.33 and 1,603.68. Volume was 2.1 billion shares worth 1.5 billion ringgit. There were 455 gainers and 319 decliners.

Among the actives, AMMB Holdings surged 2.96 percent, while Malaysia Airports Holdings plummeted 1.50 percent, Petronas Chemicals plunged 1.33 percent, Axiata soared 0.95 percent, Genting Malaysia tumbled 0.92 percent, Sime Darby spiked 0.86 percent, IOI Corporation jumped 0.68 percent, IHH Healthcare skidded 0.53 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong advanced 0.42 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.40 percent, Genting dropped 0.34 percent, Digi.com shed 0.21 percent, Sime Darby Plantations added 0.21 percent, Hartalega Holdings gained 0.19 percent, RHB Capital rose 0.18 percent, Tenaga Nasional fell 0.14 percent and PPB Group, Dialog Group, Top Glove, Public Bank, Maybank and Press Metal all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks saw moderate weakness on Monday, reflecting concerns about the impact of skyrocketing oil prices.

The Dow shed 142.70 points or 0.52 percent to 27,076.82, while the NASDAQ lost 23.17 points or 0.28 percent to 8,153.54 and the S&P 500 fell 9.43 points or 0.31 percent to 2,997.96.

The weakness on Wall Street came amid a spike by the price of crude oil, with Brent crude futures showing the biggest intraday jump on record after a coordinated drone attack on Saudi Arabia's oil industry - raising concerns about the impact higher energy prices could have on the already fragile global economy.

Crude oil prices surged Monday, hitting their biggest single-session intraday gain in 20 years after drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities resulted in a loss of about 5 percent of global crude output. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for October ended up $8.05 or 14.7 percent at $62.90 a barrel, a four-month high.

U.S. President Donald Trump also tweeted the U.S. is "locked and loaded" to the respond to the attacks, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointing the finger at Iran. A potential military conflict between the U.S. and Iran would weigh on a global economy that is already being dragged down by the U.S.-China trade war.

Later this week, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy decision, with the central bank widely expected to cut interest rates by another 25 basis points. Trump has been pressuring the Fed for a larger rate cut, pointing to the stimulus announced by other central banks around the world.

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