(RTTNews) – Ahead of the long weekend break for New Year’s day, the Malaysia stock market had alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last six trading days since the end of the four-day losing streak in which it had stumbled almost 50 points or 3.2 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,625-point plateau and it figures to remain rangebound again on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed thanks to ongoing coronavirus concerns and apprehension about the U.S. political scene as Republicans continue to try to overturn results of the presidential election. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The KLCI finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, plantation stocks and telecoms.
For the day, the index sank 17.20 points or 1.05 percent to finish at the daily low of 1,627.21 after peaking at 1,644.26. Volume was 5.509 billion shares worth 3.109 billion ringgit. There were 620 decliners and 474 gainers.
Among the actives, IHH Healthcare plummeted 3.68 percent, while Sime Darby Plantations plunged 3.48 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong tanked 2.15 percent, CIMB Group tumbled 1.83 percent, Sime Darby skidded 1.70 percent, Genting retreated 1.70 percent, Genting Malaysia declined 1.47 percent, Maxis surrendered 1.37 percent, Press Metal sank 1.29 percent, Maybank dropped 1.28 percent, Tenaga Nasional shed 0.95 percent, Petronas Chemicals lost 0.93 percent, RHB Capital fell 0.91 percent, MISC slid 0.72 percent, IOI Corporation dipped 0.68 percent, Dialog Group slipped 0.58 percent, Supermax jumped 0.50 percent, Hartalega Holdings weakened 0.49 percent, Public Bank was down 0.48 percent, Telekom Malaysia eased 0.37 percent, Digi.com fell 0.24 percent and Petronas Dagangan, Top Glove, Hap Seng and Axiata were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday before finally moving higher to end in the green.
The Dow climbed 196.88 points or 0.65 percent to finish at 30,606.48, while the NASDAQ rose 18.28 points or 0.14 percent to end at 12,888.28 and the S&P 500 gained 24.03 points or 0.64 percent to close at 3,756.07.
The gains capped off a strong year for U.S. stocks, which moved sharply higher in 2020 despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For the year, the Dow jumped 7.3 percent, the S&P 500 surged 16.3 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ skyrocketed 43.6 percent – benefitting from the stay-at-home orders issued in response to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 26.
Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Thursday despite concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February rose $0.12 or 0.3 percent at $48.52 a barrel. WTI Crude oil futures lost 21 percent in 2020, while Brent crude futures tumbled more than 22 percent.
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