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Friday, December 17, 2010

WALL STREET >>> Resilient Nasdaq Powers The Dow +41 Higher

Malaysian Stocks Poised To Reclaim 1,500-Point Level?
The Malaysian stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, shedding more than a dozen points or 0.8 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just below the 1,500-point plateau, although now traders are looking for a slightly positive bounce when the market kicks off trade on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is modestly positive, thanks to better than expected economic data from the United States. Steel and property stocks are likely to provide support, while gold miners could decline on profit taking following a recent rally. The European markets finished mixed but little changed and the U.S. bourses ended modestly higher - and the Asian markets are also expected to track mostly to the upside.

The KLCI finished modestly lower on Thursday, thanks to weakness from the financial shares, industrial issues and plantation stocks.

For the day, the index was down 11.58 points or 0.77 percent to finish at 1,497.52 after trading between 1,495.39 and 1,507.19. Volume was 1.275 billion shares worth 1.816 billion ringgit. There were 473 decliners and 256 gainers, with 296 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, KNM Group, CIMB, Maybank and Genting all finished lower, while Petronas Chemical was flat and SAAG Consolidated, MTD Capital and Sime Darby ended higher.

Data & FedEx Keeps Bulls In Cruise Control
Stocks sputtered higher today, with the major market indexes gaining ground after a choppy start to the session. FedEx more or less set the tone, as traders considered the shipping titan's turn in the earnings spotlight. The stock initially staggered lower due to a second-quarter profit miss -- but that early gloom gave way to cautious optimism, as "record-setting peak volumes and greater anticipated customer demand" prompted FedEx to raise its full-year forecast. Wall Street's mood was also boosted by an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims, as well as a decent round of housing data.
Against this backdrop, U.S. stocks wrapped up the day with respectable gains.

By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (11,499.25) tacked on 41.8 points, or 0.4%, stopping just short of the 11,500 level. Only five of the Dow's 30 components closed lower, led by American Express. Meanwhile, Alcoa set the pace for the 25 advancing blue chips. If the Dow continues to climb tomorrow, the index could notch its first weekly finish above 11,500 since August 2008.

The S&P 500 Index 1,242.87) added 7.6 points, or 0.6%, rebounding neatly from support at its rising 10-day moving average. Finally, the NASDAQ Composite (COMP – 2,637.31) gained 20.1 points, or 0.8%, but the tech-rich COMP continues to encounter resistance near the 2,640 region.

For every stock falling, about two rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume topped 1 billion.

“FedEx was a headline scare this morning, but then the professionals starting digging through it, and it was actually more positive.
“The path of least resistance is probably north to sideways as we close up the year. Barring some unexpected geopolitical event, the market’s kind of put a bow on the year and put it under the tree.”

"But ultimately Wall Street avoided the late-day selloff that had clipped rallies in each of the previous three trading days as the bulls focused on the latest signs the economy is slowly improving, highlighted by a surprise jump in a regional manufacturing index."

“There are lots of things fluctuating our markets. It just seems like the fluctuating is going to the upside right now.”

Wall Street largely shrugged off concerns about FedEx, which reversed an early 2% slump that had been sparked after it badly missed estimates with non-GAAP EPS of $1.16. FedEx, which is seen as an economic bellwether did increase its guidance for its fiscal year, but the midpoint of the new range would trail expectations
Crude futures closed modestly lower today, giving back modest gains inspired by Wednesday's bullish inventory report. Despite the larger-than-expected drawdown, U.S. stockpiles are still hovering at relatively bloated levels -- giving market players little motivation to buy black gold at current prices. By the close, crude oil for January delivery shed 92 cents, or 1%, to finish at $87.70 per barrel.

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