The Malaysian stock market gave up less than a point on Monday - but that extended its losing streak to three sessions, costing it nearly 30 points or 2 percent in that span. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index remained just above the 1,495-point plateau, and now analysts are forecasting further damage when the market opens on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets calls for consolidation following continued chaos in Japan following last week's earthquake and tsunami. Airlines, properties and financials are all expected to track lower, although steel stocks may rise on bargain hunting. The European and U.S. markets ended lower, and the Asian bourses are forecast to follow that lead.
The KLCI finished flat on Monday as gains from the plantation stocks were erased by selling from the financials and industrials.
For the day, the index eased 0.27 points or 0.02 percent to finish at 1,495.35 after trading between 1,480.53 and 1,500.21. Volume was 802.36 million shares worth 1.179 billion ringgit. There were 352 decliners and 308 gainers.
Among the actives, Tenaga Nasional, CIMB Holdings and Public Bank all ended lower, while Petronas Chemical, IOI Corporation, YTL and Sime Darby all finished higher.
The lead from Wall Street is fairly negative as stocks regained some ground in the afternoon after showing notable softness in morning trading on Monday, but still closed mostly lower. Concerns about the economic impact of Friday's devastating earthquake in Japan contributed to the weakness in the markets.