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Indonesia Stock Market May Halt Slide

The Indonesia stock market has finished lower now in four straight sessions, retreating more than 130 points or 3.4 percent en route to a fresh three-month closing low. The Jakarta Composite Index finished just above the 3,860-point plateau, and now analysts are forecasting mild relief at the opening of trade 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 JCI finished modestly lower again on Monday following losses among the resource stocks, properties and cement companies.

For the day, the index dropped 33.55 points or 0.86 percent to finish at 3,861.02 after trading between 3,838.54 and 3,894.76. Volume was 2.51 billion shares worth 4.08 trillion rupiah. There were 165 decliners and 70 gainers.

Among the decliners, Semen Gresik shed 2.8 percent, while Indocement Tunggal Prakasa plummeted 4.4 percent and Timah lost 2.5 percent.

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 RTTNews Staff Writer

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