The Malaysia stock market has moved lower in two consecutive trading days, sliding almost a dozen points or 0.7 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,690-point plateau and it may remain stuck in neutral on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian is flat to lower, thanks to a decline in crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. markets were closed and the Asian bourses are tipped to open slightly lower on Thursday.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Wednesday as losses from the plantations and telecoms were tempered by support from the industrials.

For the day, the index shed 6.72 points or 0.40 percent to finish at 1,688.27 after trading between 1,683.03 and 1,688.60. Volume was 1.8 billion shares worth 1.5 billion ringgit. There were 519 decliners and 251 gainers.

Among the actives, Maxis plummeted 2.18 percent, while Genting plunged 1.69 percent, Tenaga Nasional tumbled 1.56 percent, Axiata skidded 1.27 percent, Genting Malaysia dropped 1.01 percent, Telekom Malaysia retreated 0.78 percent, Digi.com declined 0.69 percent, Petronas Chemicals advanced 0.66 percent, Sime Darby picked up 0.42 percent, Dialog Group shed 0.31 percent, IOI Corporation lost 0.23 percent, CIMBN Group fell 0.17 percent and IHH Healthcare, Maybank, Public Bank and PPB Group all were unchanged.

There is no lead from Wall Street as the major averages were closed Wednesday for the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30.

In economic news, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book and most of the twelve Fed districts reported that their economies expanded at a modest or moderate pace from mid-October through late November.

The release of the Beige Book comes as the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point at its next monetary policy meeting later this month.

Crude oil futures failed to hold earlier gains and settled lower on Wednesday, with traders weighing the prospects of future demand. Crude oil futures for January ended down $0.36 or 0.7 percent at $52.89 a barrel.

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