The Malaysian stock market on Tuesday snapped the two-day losing streak in which it had retreated more than 15 points or 1 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just above the 1,530-point plateau, and now traders are expecting the market to hold steady in that neighborhood when it kicks off trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of downside thanks to persistent debt concerns in Europe and a mixed batch of economic news from the United States. Oil and gold stocks are expected to rise, while airlines and technology stocks are expected to ease. The European markets finished higher and the U.S. bourses ended lower, and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
For the day, the index added 3.14 points or 0.21 percent to finish at 1,532.12 after trading between 1,525.71 and 1,533.22. Volume was 812.197 million shares worth 1.54 billion ringgit. There were 437 gainers and 312 decliners, with 311 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Tenaga Nasional, Petronas Chemicals, RHB Capital, YTL Power, Telekom Malaysia, Axiata and IOI Corporation all finished higher, while Maxis was unchanged and Maybank and CIMB Group ended lower.
The lead from Wall Street suggests minor consolidation as stocks showed a lack of direction on Tuesday, with traders reluctant to make any significant moves following the previous day's selloff. The markets eventually ended the session on the downside, extending a recent downward trend.
Wall Street : Dismay Data Downer; Dow Extend Losing Streak
Stocks struggled to pick a direction today, with all three major market indexes hemming and hawing around the breakeven line. In the bulls' corner, traders cheered a dose of surprisingly pleasant housing data, while energy-related equities made headway in the wake of an upwardly revised crude forecast from Goldman Sachs. However, another discouraging report on manufacturing rained on the bulls' parade, as did a federal report showing a growing number of problem banks. The lingering concerns about European debt merely tipped the scales in the bears' favor, with stocks settling in the red for the third straight session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,356.21) ended a wishy-washy session with a loss of 25.1 points, or 0.2%, as 21 of its 30 components finished lower. General Electric (GE) led the bearish majority with a 1.5% deficit, while oil concern Chevron Corp. (CVX) paced the nine advancing equities with a gain of 0.9%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,316.28) also settled a volatile session in the red, surrendering 1.1 points, or 0.1%, by the close. In similar fashion, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,746.16) suffered the steepest loss, giving up 12.7 points, or 0.5%, to end near a session low. What's more, today marks the COMP's first finish south of the 2,750 level since April 19.
Crude Oil Rebound 1.9%
Crude futures ended higher today -- though black gold failed to finish atop the key century mark. Boosting the commodity was an ailing dollar, as well as an upwardly revised forecast from Goldman Sachs. "Although the growth environment is clearly slower than the one before the unrest began and downside risks remain in the near-term, we expect oil prices to move substantially higher over the next 18 months," the analysts wrote, citing the loss of production in war-torn Libya. Against this backdrop, crude oil for July delivery added $1.89, or 1.9%, to settle at $99.59 per barrel.
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