(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market had climbed higher in four straight sessions, perking almost 20 points or 1.2 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,525-point plateau although it’s likely to run out of steam on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft with profit taking expected, especially among technology stocks. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the glove makers and mixed performances from the financials, telecoms and plantations.
For the day, the index added 5.71 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 1,525.73 after trading between 1,515.25 and 1,526.62.
Among the actives, Axiata surged 3.21 percent, while CIMB Group fell 0.19 percent, Dialog Group tumbled 1.13 percent, Digi.com rose 0.52 percent, Genting climbed 1.37 percent, Genting Malaysia rallied 1.45 percent, Hartalega Holdings gained 0.90 percent, IHH Healthcare accelerated 1.72 percent, IOI Corporation jumped 1.57 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong retreated 1.01 percent, Maybank was up 0.12 percent, Maxis soared 1.88 percent, MISC advanced 1.01 percent, MRDIY strengthened 1.41 percent, PPB Group eased 0.12 percent, Press Metal perked 0.16 percent, Public Bank collected 0.24 percent, RHB Capital improved 0.36 percent, Sime Darby added 0.91 percent, Sime Darby Plantations plummeted 7.05 percent, Telekom Malaysia spiked 1.79 percent, Tenaga Nasional gathered 1.21 percent, Top Glove increased 0.47 percent and Petronas Chemicals, Petronas Gas and INARI were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as the major averages opened sharply lower on Thursday and stayed that way throughout the session, ending a four-day winning streak.
The Dow plunged 518.17 points or 1.45 percent to finish at 35,111.16, while the NASDAQ plummeted 538.73 points or 3.74 percent to end at 13,878.82 and the S&P tumbled 111.94 points or 2.44 percent to close at 4,477.44.
A steep drop by Meta (FB) weighed on the tech sector, with the Facebook parent plunging nearly 27 percent, and hitting its lowest intraday level in well over a year after reporting weaker than expected Q4 earnings and disappointing revenue guidance for the current quarter.
Several other social media stocks, including Snap and Twitter, tumbled as well. Weak earnings updates from other companies like Honeywell (down more than 7 percent) and Spotify (down nearly 17 percent) also weighed on sentiment.
In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest decrease by first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted a continued slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in January.
Crude oil prices surged on Thursday as concerns about possible supply disruptions outweighed OPEC’s decision to increase crude output in March. Geopolitical concerns in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have raised concerns about supplies. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $2.01 or 2.3 percent at a seven-year high $90.27 a barrel.
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