(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market has moved higher in three straight sessions, gathering almost 20 points or 1.2 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,600-point plateau although it may spin its wheels on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on concerns over the outlook for interest rates and economic slowdown. The European and U.S. markets were sharply lower and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in the red.
The KLCI finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares and glove makers, while the plantations were mixed and the telecoms were down.
For the day, the index rose 3.65 points or 0.23 percent to finish at 1,601.97 after trading between 1,594.72 and 1,603.32. Volume was 2.641 billion shares worth 2.056 billion ringgit. There were 538 decliners and 385 gainers.
Among the actives, Axiata was up 0.56 percent, while Dialog Group lost 0.38 percent, Genting advanced 0.88 percent, Genting Malaysia fell 0.34 percent, Hartalega Holdings improved 0.66 percent, IHH Healthcare and Public Bank both rallied 1.07 percent, INARI plummeted 3.77 percent, IOI Corporation climbed 1.01 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong sank 0.99 percent, Maybank added 0.68 percent, Maxis jumped 1.30 percent, MISC dipped 0.13 percent, MRDIY dropped 1.14 percent, Petronas Chemicals shed 0.77 percent, Press Metal tumbled 2.43 percent, RHB Capital collected 0.84 percent, Telekom Malaysia retreated 1.21 percent, Tenaga Nasional gained 0.67 percent, Top Glove rose 0.58 percent and Sime Darby, Sime Darby Plantations, CIMB Group, Digi.com and PPB Group were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as the major averages opened solidly lower on Friday and saw the losses only accelerate as the day progressed.
The Dow plummeted 981.40 points or 2.82 percent, while the NASDAQ plunged 335.41 points or 2.55 percent to close at 12,839.29 and the S&P 500 tumbled 121.88 points or 2.77 percent to end at 4,271.78.
For the week, the Dow slumped 1.9 percent, the NASDAQ dropped 3.8 percent and the S&P fell 2.8 percent.
The continued weakness on Wall Street reflected ongoing concerns about the Federal Reserve aggressively tightening monetary policy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said he sees merit in “front-end loading” policy moves and indicated a 50-basis point rate hike would be on the table at the central bank’s next meeting in early May.
Crude oil futures skidded on Friday on fears over falling energy demand and concerns about an economic slowdown. The dollar’s surge amid Fed’s aggressive stance on tightening monetary policy weighed as well on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down by $1.72 or 1.7 percent at $102.07 a barrel.
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