The Malaysian stock market on Monday snapped the six-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 20 points or 1.5 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just below the 1,515-point plateau, and now traders are bracing for continued if mild consolidation when the market kicks off trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a downside bias as geopolitical concerns are likely to offset positive economic data from the United States. Gold stocks are expected to see profit taking, while natural gas, oil and technology stocks also are seen lower. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were slightly lower - and the Asian markets are tipped to split the difference.
For the day, the index eased 1.30 points or 0.09 percent to finish at 1,514.25 after trading between 1,511.98 and 1,517.47. Volume was 1.28 billion shares worth 1.61 billion ringgit. There were 380 decliners and 371 gainers, with 304 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Tenaga Nasional, Nestle, Sime Darby, MISC, Maybank all finished lower, while CIMB Holdings ended higher.
Buying interest remained relatively subdued, however, as lingering concerns about the nuclear crisis in Japan and the ongoing military conflict in Libya helped to limit the upside.
The lead from Wall Street is slightly negative as stocks came under pressure in the latter part of the trading day on Monday after maintaining a positive bias throughout much of the session. The pullback by the markets came as concerns about developments overseas offset upbeat U.S. economic data.