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Thursday, February 24, 2011

BURSA MALAYSIA : Pre-Market Outlook 24 Feb 2011

Malaysian Market Poised To Open Lower
The Malaysian stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, retreating nearly 15 points or 1 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just above the 1,510-point plateau, and now investors are bracing for more selling pressure at the opening of trade on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets remains negative, due to escalating geopolitical concerns in the Middle East and North Africa. Airline stocks are predicted to lead the market lower, along with technology, retail and telecom stocks - although gold and oil may provide support. The European and U.S. markets finished in the red, and the Asian markets are also expected to track lower.

The KLCI finished barely lower, following slight losses from the financials, industrials and plantations. For the day, the index shed 2.52 points or 0.17 percent to finish at 1,511.11 after trading between 1,502.01 and 1,516.52. Volume was 1.695 billion shares worth 2.046 billion ringgit. There were 433 gainers and 386 decliners, with 274 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Public Bank, Petronas Chemical, Digi.Com, British American Tobacco and Karambunai all finished higher, while Maybank ended lower.

The lead from Wall Street remains continues to be broadly pessimistic as stocks fell by substantial margins once again on Wednesday, with traders running to safety amid the ongoing chaos in key oil-supplying Arab nations. The concerns led to another spike in the price of oil, which hit a high of $100 a barrel. Meanwhile, a strong reading on existing home sales in the U.S. did little to dent the day's negative sentiment.

In economic news, inflation in Malaysia accelerated in January, fueled by rising costs of food and transport, data from the Department of Statistics showed on Wednesday. Inflation rose to 2.4 percent in January from 2.2 percent in December, matching economists' forecast. Food prices grew 3.7 percent year-on-year and were 1.2 percent higher compared to the previous month.

Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased 3.6 percent during the month, while non-food prices rose 1.9 percent. Transport costs were 4.3 percent higher than in January last year.

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