The KLCI finished barely higher on Monday as gains from the financial shares and industrial issues were largely pared by selling from the plantation stocks.
Among the actives, Petronas Chemicals, KNM Group, Karambunai Corp, CIMB, Sime Darby all finished higher, while Maybank ended lower.
The markets draw a negative lead from Wall Street as stocks ended Monday's session mostly lower but were able to recover from steep losses in the final hour of trading. Worries about Portugal and Spain's potential debt woes after news of a bailout for Ireland failed to keep stocks firmly negative on the day, as optimism regarding a continued U.S. economic recovery based on retail sales moderated the downside.
After discussions over the weekend, European finance ministers reached an agreement for an 85 billion euro financial assistance package for Ireland. Around 35 billion euros will go toward propping up Ireland's banking system, while the remaining 50 billion euros will cover the day-to-day financing of the state.
Nonetheless, the resolution did little to instill confidence that bond vigilantes won't target similarly challenged Portugal and Spain, prompting some early-day losses among stocks. Noted economist Nouriel Roubini encouraged Portugal to accept assistance before a crisis sets in, but he suggested that Spain was too large an economy to be bailed out by its neighbors.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,187.76) settled with a loss of 1.6 points, or 0.1%.
In the U.S., the economic calendar was light, although a number of key reports are due out over the course of the week. November's employment report and the results of Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey are likely to be in focus.