In particular, they will be monitoring the consumer confidence index for May, due out later on May 26. Other key reports include sale of existing and new homes as well as a government reading on US home prices in 1Q09.
Further evidence of stabilisation in the housing sector would support expectations that the economy has hit bottom and is poised for a recovery later in the year.
North Asian bourses were also affected by North Korea’s nuclear test – and the possibility of more tests ahead. Back home, investors are also awaiting Bank Negara’s release of Malaysia’s first quarter GDP on May27. The Second Finance Minister indicated that GDP was likely to slip more than expected this year, but should see positive growth in 2010.
The KLCI started on May 26 on a slightly positive footing, but fell into negative territory in the afternoon. The index ended 1.5 points lower at 1,051.6.
Market breadth was negative with losing stocks beating gaining ones by a 1.5-to-1 ratio. Some 1.59 billion shares changed hands. Actively traded stocks include TA-warrant, KNM, SAAG, Mulpha, Scomi and Zelan. Major gainers include BAT, DiGi and Deleum. Losers include Hong Leong Industries and plantation stocks such as KL Kepong, Batu Kawan and Glenealy – as palm oil prices retreated.