The Malaysia stock market on Wednesday ended the modest two-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 5 points or 0.3 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,500-point plateau and it's tipped to remain in that neighborhood again on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests little movement amid a lack of catalysts with some markets still on holiday. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.
The KLCI finished barely lower on Wednesday following losses from the plantations, gains from the financials and a mixed picture from the telecoms.
For the day, the index eased 0.88 points or 0.06 percent to finish at 1,499.45 after trading between 1,494.73 and 1,501.86.
Among the actives, Axiata tumbled 1.94 percent, while CIMB Group perked 0.17 percent, Dialog Group skyrocketed 7.06 percent, Digi.com gained 0.24 percent, Genting surged 2.02 percent, Genting Malaysia climbed 1.06 percent, IHH Healthcare slumped 1.17 percent, INARI sank 0.37 percent, IOI Corporation retreated 1.28 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong eased 0.09 percent, Maybank collected 0.11 percent, Maxis plummeted 3.41 percent, MISC plunged 2.57 percent, MRDIY advanced 1.02 percent, Press Metal jumped 1.14 percent, RHB Capital spiked 1.23 percent, Sime Darby declined 1.68 percent, Sime Darby Plantations tanked 2.47 percent, Telekom Malaysia rose 0.19 percent, Tenaga Nasional added 0.74 percent and Petronas Chemicals, PPB Group and Public Bank were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is murky as the major averages opened sharply lower on Wednesday but improved as the day progressed, eventually finishing mixed and little changed.
The Dow rose 9.88 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 33,743.84, while the NASDAQ dipped 20.91 points or 0.18 percent to close at 11,313.36 and the S&P 500 eased 0.73 points or 0.02 percent to end at 4,016.22.
The early sell-off on Wall Street reflected a negative reaction to disappointing earnings news from some big-name companies like software giant Microsoft (MSFT) and aerospace giant Boeing (BA).
With gold for February delivery climbing $7.20 to $1,942.60 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index jumped by 1.9 percent to a seven-month closing high.
Banking, airline and steel stocks also showed strong moves to the upside, contributing to the recovery by the broader markets.
Crude oil futures rose slightly higher Wednesday, with traders reacting to reports that a diesel refinery in Louisiana was shut after a fire on Saturday. The disruption is expected to last at least a month. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $80.15 a barrel, up just 2 cents from the previous close.