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Thursday, February 17, 2011

ZLBT Morning Markets Round-up

 Malaysian Stock Market May Extend Gains
The Malaysian stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, wrapped around Tuesday's market holiday in observance of the birth of Muhammad. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index added more than a dozen points or 0.8 percent along the way and settled just above the 1,505-point plateau - and now traders are looking for further upside when the market kicks off trade on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive thanks to solid economic news from the United States - although rising tensions in the Middle East may limit the upside. Oil companies are expected to fuel the gains, along with technology stocks and properties. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in the green, and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that lead.

The KLCI finished flat on Wednesday, nudged into the green by gains from the financials and plantation stocks.

For the day, the index added 0.97 points or 0.06 percent to finish at 1,506.30 after trading between 1,495.43 and 1,506.31. Volume was 1.88 billion shares worth 2.03 billion ringgit. There were 493 decliners and 342 gainers, with 259 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, IOI Corporation, Axiata, BAT and Hong Leong Bank all finished higher.

The lead from Wall Street is optimistic as stocks rose by moderate margins on Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed an upward revision to the central bank's 2011 GDP forecast. A strong reading on January housing starts led stocks to early gains, although a pickup in tensions between Iran and Israel tempered the upside.
WALL STREET : DJIA Cheer Fed's Vote Of Confidence
Stocks got a running start higher this morning, as the Street celebrated relatively robust earnings and a burst of buyout buzz. Blazing the earnings trail into the black were tech heavyweights Dell Inc. and Comcast Corp., while solid reports from Abercrombie & Fitch and Deere & Co. provided a halo lift for their respective sector peers. Meanwhile, French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis' $20 billion purchase of Genzyme Corp., as well as a bid to take Family Dollar Stores private, sparked optimism about the collective corporate purse strings. Adding fuel to the bulls' fire, the Commerce Department said new home construction rebounded from December to January, besting economists' expectations and marking the best month in four for domestic builders.

As if that weren't enough, the afternoon release of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest meeting minutes further stoked the bullish flames. Most notably, the policymakers said they now expect the economy to grow anywhere from 3.4% to 3.9% this year, up from their previous estimate for 3% to 3.6% growth. Nevertheless, the Fed said the unemployment rate will likely remain between 8.8% and 9% through 2011, before dropping to 7.6% to 8.1% in 2012. While the upwardly revised outlook triggered speculation about scaled-back quantitative easing on the horizon, the central bank's vote of confidence helped all three major market indexes in their quest for new highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,288.17) peaked at 12,303.16 in intraday trading, marking the blue chip barometer's first foray north of 12,300 since June 2008. However, the Dow couldn't maintain its perch atop the round-number level, settling for a gain of 61.5 points, or 0.5%, as all but seven of its 30 components ended higher. Pacing the advancers were JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which each logged gains of more than 2%, while Verizon Communications (VZ) led the bearish minority with a loss of 0.8%.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,336.32) finished near its intraday peak of 1,337.61 – a level not explored since June 2008 – adding 8.3 points, or 0.6%, by the bell. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,825.56) fared the best of the three, thanks to impressive earnings showings from tech titans Dell and Comcast. After soaring as high as 2,828.19 – a three-plus-year acme – in intraday trading, the COMP ended with a gain of 21.1 points, or 0.8%. For the week, both the SPX and COMP are on pace to finish more than 0.5% higher.

CRUDE OIL : Mobilizations Of Iranian Warships Help Crude Futures Rebound From 11-weeks Low
Crude futures rebounded from an 11-week low today, after the Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected rise in domestic stockpiles. In addition, reports of Iranian warships en route to Syria via the Suez Canal fueled geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, sparking concerns about supply disruptions and further bolstering black gold. By the close, March-dated crude oil futures tacked on 87 cents, or 1%, to end at $85.18 per barrel.


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