(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market has tracked higher in back-to-back sessions, gathering more than 15 points or 1 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,600-point plateau although it may spin its wheels on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests consolidation on growing concerns over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were sharply lower and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.
The KLCI finished slightly higher on Thursday following gains from the financial shares and mixed performances from the plantations and telecoms.
For the day, the index rose 4.57 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 1,598.32 after trading between 1,594.13 and 1,599.91. Volume was 2.846 billion shares worth 2.033 billion ringgit. There were 518 gainers and 445 decliners.
Among the actives, Axiata tumbled 2.98 percent, while CIMB Group soared 1.57 percent, Dialog Group dropped 1.12 percent, Digi.com fell 0.26 percent, Genting Malaysia and RHB Capital both improved 0.68 percent, Hartalega Holdings retreated 1.51 percent, IHH Healthcare rose 0.31 percent, INARI gained 0.34 percent, IOI Corporation spiked 1.39 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong jumped 0.93 percent, Maybank climbed 0.91 percent, Maxis increased 0.26 percent, MISC was up 0.13 percent, Petronas Chemicals rallied 0.78 percent, PPB Group added 0.59 percent, Press Metal perked 0.61 percent, Public Bank collected 0.43 percent, Sime Darby stumbled 1.24 percent, Sime Darby Plantations declined 1.69 percent, Telekom Malaysia surged 2.69 percent, Tenaga Nasional eased 0.11 percent and Top Glove, Genting and MRDIY were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is negative as the major averages were unable to hold early gains on Thursday, accelerating into the red as the day progressed.
The Dow tumbled 368.03 points or 1.05 percent to finish at 34,792.76, while the NASDAQ dropped 278.41 points or 2.07 percent to close at 13,174.41 and the S&P 500 sank 65.79 points or 1.48 percent to end at 4,393.66.
The sharp pullback on Wall Street came as Treasury yields showed a notable move back to the upside after falling on Wednesday. The yield on the benchmark ten-year note more than offset yesterday’s drop, reaching its highest closing level since December 2018.
Concerns about the outlook for interest rates contributed to the rebound by Treasury yields after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the International Monetary Fund that it would be appropriate to raise rates “a little more quickly” and predicted a 50 basis point rate hike would be on the table at the Fed’s May meeting.
Early in the session, stocks benefited from some upbeat earnings news from the likes of Tesla (TSLA), American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL).
In economic news, the Labor Department noted a slight decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in April.
Crude oil prices climbed higher Thursday, extending gains from the previous session amid concerns about global crude supply and strong demand in the U.S. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $1.60 or 1.6 percent at $103.79 a barrel.
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