Ahead of Friday's holiday for the Hindu new year, the Indonesia stock market had closed higher in back-to-back sessions, rising almost 20 points or 0.5 percent in the process. The Jakarta Composite Index finished just above the 4,040-point plateau, and now investors are expecting to see the market extend its gains when it opens on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a slight upside bias, with disappointing economic data from the United States offset by solid corporate earnings news. The European markets were mixed but little changed and the U.S. bourses ended slightly higher - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The JCI finished slightly higher on Thursday as gains from the telecoms were dented by losses from the plantation stocks.
For the day, the index added 5.33 points or 0.13 percent to finish at 4,041.56 after trading between 4,024.04 and 4,044.15.
Among the actives, BW Plantation shed 4.7 percent, while Perusahaan Perkebunan London Sumatra Indonesia fell 1.7 percent and Tower Bersama Infrastructure added 0.8 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers mild support as stocks finished a choppy day of trading in positive territory on Friday, overcoming an early dip to end the session with modest gains.
Shares dropped in early trading, threatening to continue a bout of profit taking that has marked most of the week. The morning slide came on the heels of disappointing new home sales data, which showed an unexpected decline for February. New home sales fell 1.6 percent in February, dropping to a pace of 313,000 homes. Prices were up, however, climbing 8.3 percent to $233,700.
On the corporate scene, Darden Restaurants (DRI) said its quarterly profit rose 8 percent from last year. The bottom line at the owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant chains was boosted by sales that climbed to $2.2 billion from about $2 billion last year.
Micron Technology (MU) announced a loss for its latest quarter, reversing a profit posted in the same period last year. Sales and margins at the memory chip maker both deteriorated.
Nike (NKE) revealed a quarterly profit that rose 7 percent from last year. The athletic shoe maker said its revenue jumped 15 percent to nearly $5.9 billion.
IT services company Accenture (ACN) reported a stronger-than-expected rise in its quarterly profit. The company benefited from revenue growth across all operating groups. Accenture also raised its expectations for the full year.
Stocks quickly snapped back, although it took the NASDAQ most of the day to get back into positive territory. The major averages eventually finished the session higher. The Dow gained 34.59 points or 0.27 percent to finish at 13,080.73, while the NASDAQ advanced 4.60 points or 0.15 percent to end at 3,067.92. The S&P 500 climbed 4.33 points or 0.31 percent to close at 1,397.11.
In economic news, China and Indonesia agreed on Friday to strengthen consultation and cooperation so as to raise their bilateral strategic partnership to new heights. Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in talks in Beijing also agreed to expand practical cooperation between the two countries and also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern. Hu said since the establishment of the strategic partnership, bilateral links had seen healthy and rapid growth with fruitful cooperation in various areas.
by RTT Staff Writer
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