The Malaysia stock market has closed higher now in back-to-back sessions, rising more than 10 points or 0.6 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index finished just above the 1,640-point plateau, although now analysts are forecasting a lower open for the markets at the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with profit taking likely on the menu after the regional bourses rallied on Thursday following the release of Chinese economic data that was generally in line with expectations. Some positive economic data from the U.S. may provide mild support. The European and U.S. markets were mixed but little changed and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.
The KLCI finished modestly higher on Thursday following large gains from the financial sector, plus more limited upside from the industrials and plantations.
For the day, the index collected 6.60 points or 0.40 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,642.52 after trading as low as 1,635.59. Volume was 884.651 million shares worth 1.348 billion ringgit. There were 379 decliners and 332 gainers, with 348 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Maybank, Genting Malaysia, Genting, CIMB Group, Petronas Chemicals, British American Tobacco, United Plantations and Hong Leong Industries all finished higher, while Sime Darby was unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks turned in another lackluster performance on Thursday, with traders reluctant to make any significant moves. The major averages remained stuck near the unchanged line throughout the session after ending the previous session nearly flat.
The choppy trading came as traders expressed continued uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent strength. While optimism about further monetary stimulus helped to drive stocks higher in recent weeks, traders seem reluctant to continue buying without any official announcement.
Some upbeat economic data helped to keep traders from cashing in on the recent gains, as the Labor Department reported an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims - which fell to 361,000 in the week ended August 4 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 367,000 from the 365,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Also, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $42.9 billion in June from $48.0 billion in May. The trade deficit had been expected to narrow to $47.5 billion. The narrower than expected trade deficit reflected an increase in the value of exports and a decrease in the value of imports.
Among individual stocks, shares of Allscripts Healthcare showed a strong upward move after the healthcare information services provider raised its full year earnings guidance. Online broker E*Trade also turned in a strong performance on news that CEO Steven Freiberg has left the company. Meanwhile, shares of SunPower came under pressure after the solar products and services company provided disappointing guidance.
The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the Dow edging down 10.45 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 13,165.19, while the NASDAQ rose 7.39 points or 0.3 percent to end at 3,018.64 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.58 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 1,402.80.
In economic news, Malaysia's industrial production was up 3.7 percent on year in June, the Department of Statistics said on Thursday, slower than the 7.8 percent rise in May and 4.8 percent rise forecast by economists. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, industrial production fell 1.9 percent due to the deterioration in manufacturing and mining sectors.
Also, Malaysia's manufacturing sales value continued to grow in June, the Department of Statistics said on Thursday. The sales value of the manufacturing sector registered an annual growth of 6.3 percent, but slower than the 8.8 percent increase seen in May.
At the same time, total employees engaged in the manufacturing sector totaled 1.02 million in June, a decrease of 855 persons or 0.1 percent compared with the preceding month. Likewise, salaries and wages paid in June decreased by 0.7 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org