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Malaysia Stock Market May Extend Gains

2/27/2012 7:04 PM ET

The Malaysia stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, although it has gathered just over 2 points in that span. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just below the 1,560-point plateau, and now traders are looking for additional support when the market opens on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic after most of the regional bourses saw heavy selling in the previous session. The markets may benefit from a pullback in the price of crude oil, as well as news that Germany's lower house of parliament passed a second Greek bailout package. Upbeat economic data from the United States adds to the positive sentiment. The European markets finished lower and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed, and the Asian markets are called slightly higher.

The KLCI finished flat on Monday, finishing barely in the green as gains from the financials were wiped out by losses from the industrials and plantations.

For the day, the index added 0.27 points or 0.017 percent to finish at 1,559.04 after trading between 1,558.29 and 1,565.87. Volume was 1.642 billion shares worth 1.633 ringgit. There were 455 decliners and 327 gainers, with 341 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Maybank, Sime Darby and Petronas Chemicals all finished lower, while CIMB Group, Naim Indah and China Stationery all ended higher.

The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks staged a significant recovery later on Monday after moving sharply lower at the open. Buying interest waned thereafter, however, and the markets eventually ended the session roughly flat.

Renewed concerns about the financial situation in Europe contributed to the initial weakness on Wall Street, as the G20 called for a further enhancement of Europe's bailout fund before the rest of the G20 nations can consider increasing their contribution to the International Monetary Fund's resources.

Upbeat housing data contributed to the subsequent recovery, as the National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index rose by more than expected in January, reaching its highest level since April 2010. NAR said its pending home sales index rose 2.0 percent to 97.0 in January from a downwardly revised 95.1 in December. Economists had been expecting to index to increase by about 1.5 percent.

While the markets also benefited from a pullback by the price of crude oil as well as news that Germany's lower house of parliament voted in favor of a second Greek bailout package, traders seemed somewhat reluctant to continue buying stocks in afternoon trading.

Among individual stocks, Transocean (RIG) rose by 5.3 percent after reporting a fourth quarter loss of $18.62 per share, including items that impacted results by $18.80 per share. Operating revenues rose to $2.42 billion from $2.13 billion a year earlier.

Home improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW) also closed higher after reporting fourth quarter earnings of $0.26 per share on revenues of $11.6 billion. The results exceeded estimates. The company also updated its 2012 guidance, forecasting earnings of $1.75 to $1.85 per share on 1 to 2 percent sales growth.

Once again, the Dow reached an intraday high above 13,000 but ended the session modestly lower. While the Dow edged down 1.44 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 12,981.51, the NASDAQ inched up 2.41 points or 0.1 percent to 2,966.16 and the S&P 500 rose 1.85 points or 0.1 percent to 1,367.59.

by RTT Staff Writer

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