Rebound Called For Malaysia Stock Market

Ahead of Wednesday's holiday for Federal Territory Day, the Malaysia stock market turned lower again - one day after snapping the three-day losing streak in which it had eased just 3 points. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,485-point plateau although it's expected to bounce higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat after the Federal Reserve didn't raise its benchmark lending rate more than expected on Wednesday. The European markets were mixed and flat and the U.S. bourses were firmly higher and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Tuesday following losses from the financial shares and plantation stocks and a mixed picture from the telecoms.

For the day, the index sank 13.89 points or 0.93 percent to finish at the daily low of 1,485.50 after peaking at 1,493.89.

Among the actives, Axiata climbed 1.00 percent, while CIMB Group and IOI Corporation both fell 0.52 percent, Dialog Group declined 1.52 percent, Digi.com tanked 2.55 percent, Genting was down 0.20 percent, while Genting Malaysia retreated 1.39 percent, IHH Healthcare shed 0.67 percent, INARI plunged 2.63 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong dropped 0.93 percent, Maybank dipped 0.46 percent, Maxis tumbled 2.46 percent, MISC added 0.55 percent, MRDIY plummeted 3.06 percent, Petronas Chemicals slumped 1.18 percent, PPB Group lost 0.56 percent, Press Metal surrendered 1.71 percent, Public Bank slid 0.47 percent, RHB Capital gained 0.35 percent, Sime Darby sank 0.86 percent, Sime Darby Plantations eased 0.23 percent, Telekom Malaysia rose 0.19 percent and Tenaga Nasional skidded 0.95 percent.

The lead from Wall Street ends up positive as the major averages opened slightly lower on Wednesday and spent most of the day that way before a late push bumped them into the green.

The Dow rose 6.92 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 23,092.96, while the NASDAQ surged 231.77 points or 2.00 percent to close at 11,816.32 and the S&P 500 jumped 42.61 points or 1.05 percent to end at 4,119.21.

The late-day rally on Wall Street came after the Federal Reserve announced its widely expected decision to raise interest rates by another quarter point and signaled further rate hikes. The latest interest rate hike comes after the central bank raised rates by 75 basis points in November and by 50 basis points in December.

The Fed also said it anticipates ongoing increases in interest rates will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over time.

In economic news, payroll processor ADP said private sector job growth slowed more than expected in January. Also, the Institute for Supply Management said activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted for the third consecutive month in January.

Oil prices fell to a three-week low on Wednesday, weighed down by data showing an increase in crude inventories last week in the U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March sank $2.46 or 3.1 percent at $76.41 a barrel.

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