(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market on Wednesday snapped the seven-day losing streak in which it had fallen almost 60 points or 3.9 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,515-point plateau and it may tick higher again on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed after the Federal Reserve signaled a rate hike in the near future, although it’s already been largely priced in. Surging crude oil prices should also limit the downside. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourse were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Wednesday as gains from the financials and glove makers were capped by weakness from the plantations.
For the day, the index added 6.85 points or 0.45 percent to finish at 1,515.76 after trading between 1,508.78 and 1,520.15. Volume was 2.362 billion shares worth 1.845 billion ringgit. There were 618 gainers and 254 decliners.
Among the actives, Axiata skidded 1.08 percent, while CIMB Group strengthened 0.19 percent, Dialog Group spiked 1.90 percent, Genting gathered 1.14 percent, Genting Malaysia perked 1.10 percent, Hartalega Holdings surged 2.81 percent, IHH Healthcare gained 0.47 percent, INARI and Petronas Dagangan both added 0.62 percent, IOI Corporation slumped 1.04 percent, Maybank advanced 0.85 percent, Maxis dropped 0.93 percent, MISC increased 0.29 percent, MRDIY jumped 1.69 percent, Petronas Chemicals was up 0.22 percent, PPB Group rallied 1.35 percent, Press Metal climbed 1.17 percent, Public Bank collected 0.48 percent, RHB Capital improved 0.36 percent, Sime Darby accelerated 1.85 percent, Sime Darby Plantations tumbled 1.55 percent, Telekom Malaysia lost 0.39 percent, Tenaga Nasional rose 0.44 percent, Top Glove soared 1.96 percent and Digi.com and Kuala Lumpur Kepong were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is mixed to lower as the major averages opened firmly higher on Wednesday before late selling sent the Dow and S&P into the red.
The Dow dropped 129.64 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 34,168.09, while the NASDAQ rose 2.82 points or 0.02 percent to close at 13,542.12 and the S&P 500 fell 6.52 points or 0.15 percent to end at 4,349.93.
The late-day pullback on Wall Street came after the Fed indicated that it plans to begin raising interest rates “soon,” citing elevated inflation and a strong labor market. The Fed left interest rates unchanged at near-zero levels as widely expected but said “it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate.”
The central bank also said it would further reduce the pace of its bond purchases to $30 billion per month beginning in February, with the Fed saying it expects to end its asset purchase program by early March.
In a separate statement, the Fed outlined plans to significantly reduce the size of its balance sheet, saying it expects to start the reductions after it begins raising interest rates.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday as prices climbed amid rising geopolitical tensions. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned Moscow of damaging sanctions, including measures personally targeting President Vladmir Putin, if Russia invades Ukraine. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $1.75 or 2 percent at $87.35 a barrel, the highest settlement since October 2014.
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