The Malaysia stock market has finished higher in two straight sessions, advancing almost 15 points or 0.9 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,600-point plateau and it’s expected to extend its gains on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to higher on continued upward momentum following heavy selling earlier this month. The European markets were slightly lower and the U.S. bourses were sharply higher and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The KLCI finished slightly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials, weakness from the plantations and glove makers and a mixed picture from the telecoms.
For the day, the index rose 1.09 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 1,598.97 after trading between 1,593.53 and 1,601.16. Volume was 2.7 billion shares worth 2.11 billion ringgit. There were 482 gainers and 428 decliners.
Among the actives, Axiata added 0.53 percent, while CIMB Group advanced 0.56 percent, Dialog Group skidded 1.08 percent, Digi.com gained 0.50 percent, Genting jumped 1.10 percent, Genting Malaysia surged 2.79 percent, Hartalega Holdings slumped 0.83 percent, INARI sank 0.94 percent, IOI Corporation shed 0.71 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong eased 0.16 percent, Maybank collected 0.45 percent, Maxis was down 0.24 percent, MISC lost 0.55 percent, MRDIY retreated 1.42 percent, Petronas Chemicals rose 0.31 percent, PPB Group fell 0.47 percent, RHB Capital dipped 0.33 percent, Sime Darby dropped 0.85 percent, Telekom Malaysia tumbled 2.02 percent, Tenaga Nasional rallied 0.65 percent, Top Glove declined 1.58 percent and Hong Leong Financial, Sime Darby Plantations, Press Metal, Public Bank and IHH Healthcare were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is positive as the major averages opened higher and picked up steam as the day progressed, erasing losses from the previous session.
The Dow spiked 349.44 points or 1.02 percent to finish at 34,707.94, while the NASDAQ jumped 269.23 points or 1.93 percent to end at 14,191.84 and the S&P 500 climbed 63.92 points or 1.43 percent to close at 4,520.16.
The support om Wall Street came as express some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.
Traders also kept an eye on developments out of Europe, where President Joe Biden is meeting with U.S. allies in Brussels. The Biden administration has imposed additional sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, targeting dozens of Russian defense companies, 328 members of the Russian State Duma, and the head of Russia’s largest financial institution.
In economic news, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in over 50 years in the week ended March 19. Also, the Commerce Department said new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods tumbled more than expected in February
Crude oil prices showed a notable move to the downside on Thursday after Iran hinted it may be close to getting a new nuclear deal with the U.S. via negotiations in Europe. West Texas Intermediate Crude for May delivery tumbled $2.59 or 2.3 percent to $112.34 a barrel.