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Indonesia Shares May Tick Higher On Thursday

The Indonesia stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had retreated almost 35 points or 0.6 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index now rests just above the 5,380-point plateau, although the market is expected to bounce higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to positive economic data, although stagnant crude oil prices may limit the upside. The European and U.S. markets were up, and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion.

The JCI finished modestly lower following losses from the resource stocks, cement companies and financials.

For the day, the index slid 28.89 points or 0.53 percent to finish at 5,380.67 after trading between 5,370.49 and 5,409.35. There were 198 decliners and 123 gainers, with 106 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Aneka Tambang shed 1.23 percent, while Vale Indonesia tumbled 2.14 percent, Bumi Resources dropped 1.95 percent, Bank Danamon Indonesia skidded 1.30 percent, Bank Mandiri shed 0.22 percent, XL Axiata spiked 2.96 percent, Indocement retreated 2.82 percent and Exploitasi Energi Indonesia lost 1.85 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved higher on Wednesday, extending gains to set fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 107.45 points or 0.5 percent to 20,611.86, while the NASDAQ advanced 36.87 points or 0.6 percent to 5,819.44 and the S&P 500 rose 11.67 points or 0.5 percent to 2,349.25.

The strength followed a slew of economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing stronger than expected retail sales growth in January. Also, the Labor Department said that consumer prices increased more than expected in January.

Also, the Federal Reserve noted an unexpected drop in industrial production in January, while the National Association of Home Builders unexpectedly showed a continued decrease in homebuilder confidence in February.

Crude oil prices inched lower Wednesday, holding in a stubborn trading range after government data confirmed U.S. inventories at record highs. WTI light sweet crude oil for March settled down 9 cents at $53.11.

Closer to home, Indonesia will provide January numbers for imports, exports and trade balance later today, while the central bank will also announce its interest rate decision.

In December, imports were worth $12.78 billion and exports were at $13.77 billion for a trade surplus of $992 million. The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 4.75 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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