(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market has moved higher in six straight sessions, advancing almost 55 points or 3.7 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,545-point plateau although it’s likely to see profit taking on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky following reports that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has fueled a worldwide spike in the illness. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Wednesday as gains from the financials and glove makers were capped by weakness from the plantations and a mixed picture from the telecoms.
For the day, the index picked up 5.15 points or 0.33 percent to finish at 1545.04 after trading between 1,536.45 and 1,545.04. Volume was 2.405 billion shares worth 1.832 billion ringgit. There were 462 gainers and 393 decliners.
Among the actives, Axiata surged 4.31 percent, while CIMB Group increased 0.18 percent, Digi.com sank 0.75 percent, Genting fell 0.42 percent, Hartalega Holdings rallied 0.88 percent, Hong Leong Financial lost 0.45 percent, IHH Healthcare eased 0.15 percent, INARI slumped 0.51 percent, IOI Corporation tumbled 1.83 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong was down 0.18 percent, Maybank gained 0.36 percent, Maxis advanced 0.45 percent, MISC rose 0.29 percent, MRDIY climbed 0.85 percent, Petronas Chemicals and Tenaga Nasional were up 0.11 percent, PPB Group perked 0.12 percent, Press Metal jumped 1.05 percent, Public Bank collected 0.24 percent, RHB Capital gathered 0.56 percent, Sime Darby spiked 1.79 percent, Sime Darby Plantations skidded 0.79 percent, Telekom Malaysia soared 2.06 percent, Top Glove accelerated 1.69 percent and Dialog Group and Genting Malaysia were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity. All three of the major averages opened higher on Wednesday, and the Dow stayed that way throughout. The NASDAQ quickly turned lower and finished slightly under the line. The S&P 500 bounced back and forth and ended slightly in the green.
The Dow advanced 90.42 points or 0.25 percent to finish at 36,488.63, while the NASDAQ dipped 15.51 points or 0.10 percent to close at 15,766.22 and the S&P rose 6.71 points or 0.14 percent to end at 4,793.06.
Traders seemed reluctant to continue making significant moves following recent strength in the markets, which has helped stocks recover from the sell-off seen in reaction to initial reports about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
While Omicron has contributed to a surge in new coronavirus cases around the world, traders seem optimistic that the milder symptoms associated with the new strain will not lead to a significant economic slowdown.
On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors noted an unexpected pullback in pending home sales in November.
Crude oil prices moved higher Wednesday, extending recent gains after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude oil inventories fell more than expected last week. Crude oil for February delivery climbed $0.58 or 0.8 percent to $76.56 a barrel.