The Malaysia stock market has moved lower in three straight, shedding almost a dozen points or 0.7 percent in that span. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed just below the 1,615-point plateau, and now traders are anticipating another very narrow trading range when the market kicks off trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of upside as good news from Europe is tempered by apprehension ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision later today. Germany's top court has cleared the way for the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism. But continued uncertainty about further stimulus from the Fed may limit the upside for the markets. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were slightly higher, and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The KLCI finished flat as losses from the plantation stocks and industrial issues were offset by support from the financial shares.
For the day, the index eased 0.46 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 1,613.78 after trading between 1,609.01 and 1,616.47. Volume was 804.42 million shares worth 1.602 billion ringgit. There were 409 gainers and 291 decliners, with 315 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Digi.com spiked 2.28 percent, CIMB Group jumped 1.65 percent, Maybank added 0.11 percent and RHB Capital collected 1.01 percent, while Telekom Malaysia dropped 1.49 percent, Sime Darby dipped 0.51 percent, Tenaga Nasional plummeted 1.21 percent and Maxis shed 0.74 percent.
The lead from Wall Street suggests mild upside as stocks moved modestly higher on Wednesday but ended well off their best levels of the day. The markets benefited from a positive reaction to the latest news out of Europe, but buying interest was subdued ahead of a closely watched announcement from the Federal Reserve.
The upside followed news that Germany's Federal Constitutional Court cleared the way for the ratification of the European Stability Mechanism, rejecting temporary injunctions against the European bailout fund. The court imposed certain conditions, capping Germany's liability. The court said Germany must cap its bailout fund liability at 190 billion euros and said further expansion of the country's share needs Parliament's approval.
However, continued uncertainty about further stimulus from the Federal Reserve helped to limit the upside for the markets, with the central bank due to announce its latest monetary policy decision later today. Many analysts expect the Fed to announce a third round of quantitative easing, but traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the actual announcement.
Traders shrugged off a Labor Department report showing that U.S. import prices rose by less than expected in August despite a rebound in fuel prices. Also, U.S. export prices increased by more than expected during the month amid another notable increase in prices for agricultural exports. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that wholesale inventories rebounded by more than expected in July.
The major U.S. averages were up on Wednesday as the Dow inched up 9.99 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 13,333.35, while the NASDAQ rose 9.78 points or 0.3 percent to end at 3,114.31 and the S&P 500 edged up 3.00 points or 0.2 percent to close at 1,436.56.
by RTT Staff Writer
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