Malaysia Stock Market May Hand Back Friday's Gains

The Malaysia stock market bounced higher again on Friday, one day after ending the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered just 2 points or 0.1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,525-point plateau although it figures to head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative on renewed COVID-19 concerns and the resulting drop in 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 higher on Friday as gains from the financials and telecoms were dented by weakness from the glove makers.

For the day, the index rose 1.75 points or 0.11 percent to finish at 1,525.54 after trading between 1,523.14 and 1,527.50. Volume was 2.669 billion shares worth 2.013 billion ringgit. There were 474 gainers and 450 decliners.

Among the actives, Axiata surged 3.92 percent, while CIMB Group added 0.39 percent, Dialog Group retreated 1.39 percent, Digi.com soared 2.88 percent, Genting declined 1.38 percent, Genting Malaysia tanked 2.24 percent, Hartalega Holdings plunge 3.56 percent, IHH Healthcare was up 0.15 percent, IOI Corporation gained 0.26 percent, Maybank collected 0.50 percent, Maxis spiked 2.24 percent, MISC dropped 0.72 percent, MRDIY sank 0.82 percent, PPB Group tumbled 1.61 percent, Press Metal perked 0.90 percent, Public Bank advanced 0.49 percent, RHB Capital rose 0.19 percent, Telekom Malaysia and Petronas Gas both lost 0.36 percent, Tenaga Nasional dipped 0.10 percent, Top Glove plummeted 3.75 percent and Sime Darby, Sime Darby Plantations, Petronas Chemicals, Kuala Lumpur Kepong and Nestle were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as the Dow opened lower on Friday and stayed that way and the NASDAQ opened higher and closed at a record high. The S&P 500 opened slightly lower, bounced back and forth across the unchanged line and ended slightly in the red.

The Dow dropped 268.92 points or 0.75 percent to finish at 35,601.98, while the NASDAQ added 63.74 points or 0.40 percent to close at 16,057.44 and the S&P 500 eased 6.58 points or 0.14 percent to end at 4,697.96. For the week, the NASDAQ jumped 1.2 percent, the S&P rise 0.3 percent and the Dow lost 1.4 percent.

Renewed COVID-19 concerns weighed on cyclical stocks as a brutal fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Europe. Austria has announced a full national COVID-19 lockdown starting today, while Germany has announced more restrictions on unvaccinated people.

The potential of more European countries reinstating full lockdowns sparked worries the pandemic could once again weigh down the global economy.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy NASDAQ benefitted from continued strength among technology stocks following some upbeat earnings news from companies such as software firm Intuit (INTU) and cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (PANW).

Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Friday amid rising concerns about the outlook for energy demand following a surge in COVID-19 cases and fresh restrictions in some European countries. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December settled at $75.94 a barrel, losing $2.47 or 3.2 percent.

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