(RTTNews) – The Malaysia stock market headed south again on Thursday, one day after ending the two-day slide in which it had stumbled more than 25 points or 1.7 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just beneath the 1,535-point plateau and it may extend its losses on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests further consolidation on interest rate concerns and ahead of U.S. employment data, although support from crude oil prices should limit the downside. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, industrial issues, plantations and telecoms.

For the day, the index sank 14.59 points or 0.94 percent to finish at 1,533.36 after trading between 1,532.60 and 1,546.50. Volume was 2.866 billion shares worth 1.903 billion ringgit. There were 618 decliners and 320 gainers. Among the actives, Axiata skidded 1.03 percent, while CIMB Group sank 0.73 percent, Dialog Group fell 0.37 percent, Digi.com tumbled 2.46 percent, Genting dipped 0.21 percent, Genting Malaysia was down 0.34 percent, Hartalega Holdings eased 0.17 percent, IHH Healthcare and Telekom Malaysia both declined 1.46 percent, INARI surrendered 1.51 percent, IOI Corporation tanked 2.60 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong stumbled 1.00 percent, Maybank dropped 0.60 percent, Maxis plunged 2.65 percent, MISC rose 0.14 percent, MRDIY jumped 1.37 percent, Petronas Chemicals shed 0.57 percent, PPB Group plummeted 3.42 percent, Press Metal slid 0.35 percent, Public Bank retreated 1.20 percent, RHB Capital lost 0.55 percent, Sime Darby slumped 0.87 percent, Tenaga Nasional weakened 0.99 percent and Top Glove and Sime Darby Plantations were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street ends up being soft as the major averages opened a bit higher on Thursday and then hugged both sides of the unchanged line before ending slightly lower.

The Dow dropped 170.64 points or 0.47 percent to finish at 36,236.47, while the NASDAQ lost 19.31 points or 0.13 percent to close at 15,080.87 and the S&P 500 fell 4.53 points or 0.10 percent to end at 4,696.05.

The choppy trading on Wall Street reflected continued uncertainty in reaction to the minutes of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting. The minutes of the Fed’s December meeting had a hawkish tone, suggesting the central bank will more aggressive in tightening monetary policy.

Traders may also have been reluctant to continue making significant moves ahead of the closely watched monthly jobs report later today.

In economic news, the Labor Department noted a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. Also, the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. service sector growth slowed from a record high in December.

Crude oil prices moved sharply higher Thursday, lifted by rising unrest in Kazakhstan and supply outages in Libya. Hopes that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus will not significantly impact global oil demand also contributed to the increase in prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended higher by $1.61 or 2.1 percent at $79.46 a barrel.