The Malaysia stock market has finished higher now in four straight sessions, rising more than 35 points or 2.3 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index settled just below the 1,605-point plateau, and now traders are expected to take profits when the market kicks off trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower following the Federal Reserve's decision to extend Operation Twist. In the run-up to the FOMC's decision, markets had largely priced in some kind of additional stimulus - and that's what they got, although more was expected. Profit taking may be in order for some of the overbought regional bourses. The European markets were higher and the U.S. markets were mixed but little changed, and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares, industrial issues and plantation stocks.
For the day, the index collected 9.41 points or 0.59 percent to finish at 1,604.39 after trading between 1,594.88 and 1,604.39. Volume was 1.401 billion shares worth 1.763 billion ringgit. There were 621 gainers and 196 decliners, with 291 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the gainers, Pharmaniaga, Nestle, Aeon Credit Service, Petronas Dagangan and Dutch Lady Milk Industries all moved higher.
The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks saw considerable volatility on Wednesday as traders digested news of the Federal Reserve's decision to extend Operation Twist through the end of the year. Nonetheless, the markets largely held on to their recent gains.
Operation Twist involves replacing short-term securities in the Fed's bond portfolio with longer-term securities in an effort to push already low long-term interest rates even lower. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the move was a way the central bank could boost the economy even though the most traditional policy action, lowering interest rates, is not available.
Bernanke also noted that like many economic analysts and observers, their projections about the pace of the economic recovery had proved too optimistic. "The committee is prepared to take further actions if appropriate," to promote the recovery and provide for "sustainable improvement in labor market conditions," he added.
In corporate news, shares of Procter & Gamble (PG) fell 2.9 percent after the consumer products giant warned of weaker than previously expected Q4 results. P&G attributed the downwardly revised guidance to slower than expected market growth rates, market share softness in developed regions and negative impacts from foreign exchange rate changes.
The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the session mixed. While the NASDAQ crept up 0.69 points or less than a tenth of a percent to finish at 2,930.45, while the Dow edged down 12.94 points or 0.1 percent to end at 12,824.39 and the S&P 500 slipped 2.29 points or 0.2 percent to 1,355.69.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org