Malaysia Market Expected To Remain Rangebound

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( – The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had given away more than 6 points or 0.3 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,720-point plateau and it’s expected to hold steady in that neighborhood again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with technology and oil stocks likely to fall under selling pressure. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the industrials and telecoms, while the financials came in mixed.

Among the actives, YTL Corporation plummeted 3.39 percent, while Tenaga Nasional surged 2.80 percent, Petronas Chemicals spiked 1.22 percent, climbed 0.88 percent, Genting shed 0.78 percent, IOI Corporation added 0.45 percent, Axiata gained 0.38 percent, IHH Healthcare lost 0.18 percent, CIMB Group collected 0.17 percent, Public Bank eased 0.10 percent and Telekom Malaysia, Maybank and Sime Darby were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks were mixed on Wednesday. While the Dow climbed to a new record closing high, the tech-heavy NASDAQ showed a sharp decline.

The Dow climbed 103.97 points or 0.44 percent to 23,940.68, while the NASDAQ plunged 87.97 points or 1.27 percent to 6,824.39 and the S&P 500 fell 0.97 points or 0.04 percent to 2,626.07.

The pullback by the NASDAQ came amid concerns that companies won’t see much of a benefit from the proposed tax reform. On the other hand, financial and transportation shares fueled gains on the Dow.

The mixed performance came as traders digested outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, which further solidified expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates next month.

In economic news, the Commerce Department reported stronger than estimated economic growth in the third quarter, while the National Association of Realtors noted a bigger than expected increase in pending home sales in October.

Crude oil futures fell Wednesday despite data showing another significant decline in U.S. oil stockpiles. A strong dollar dented commodities after upbeat U.S. GDP data and hawkish comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. January WTI oil was down 69 cents or 1.2 percent to $57.30/bbl.

Closer to home, Malaysia will see October numbers for producer prices later today; in September producer prices were up 1.1 percent on month and 6.0 percent on year.

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