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Indonesia Stock Market May Reverse Tuesday's Gains

The Indonesia stock market turned right back to the upside again on Tuesday, one session after it had ended the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 20 points or 0.5 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index finished just below the 4,080-point plateau, and now investors are bracing for renewed selling pressure when the market kicks off trade on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests consolidation, with investors expected to lock in gains after the markets moved mostly higher on Tuesday. Adding to the cautious sentiment, the Conference Board said its U.S. consumer confidence index fell in March, and Standard & Poor's reported a continued drop in U.S. home prices in January. Oil, gold and financial stocks are expected to be hit especially hard. The European and U.S. markets finished lower, and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.

The JCI finished sharply higher on Tuesday following gains from the cement stocks and retailers.

For the day, the index climbed 47.68 points or 1.2 percent to finish at 4,079.38 after trading between 4,032.33 and 4,081.85. Volume was 3.88 billion shares worth 4.73 trillion rupiah. There were 169 gainers and 71 decliners.

Among the gainers, Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa spiked 2.8 percent, while Kimia Farma climbed 2.3 percent and Hero Supermarket surged 20 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks moved lower on Tuesday after showing a lack of direction throughout much of the session. Profit taking may have contributed to weakness as the losses, which came after the markets ended the previous session at or near multi-year closing highs.

Disappointing economic data may also have weighed on the markets, as the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 70.2 in March from an upwardly revised 71.6 in February. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 70.9 from the 70.8 originally reported for the previous month.

Also, Standard & Poor's reported a continued drop in U.S. home prices in January, in line with estimates. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell by an annual rate of 3.8 percent in January compared to a 4.1 percent year-over-year drop in December.

Among individual stocks, shares of Lennar (LEN) rose by 4.7 percent after the homebuilder reported first quarter earnings that beat estimates. ISTA Pharma (ISTA) also moved higher after announcing an agreement to be acquired by Bausch + Lomb.

Meanwhile, for-profit education company Apollo Group (APOL) fell by 8.5 percent despite reporting better than expected second quarter results and reaffirming its full-year guidance.

The major averages all ended the day in the red but posted only modest losses. The Dow slipped 43.90 points or 0.3 percent to finish at 13,197.73, while the NASDAQ edged down 2.22 points or 0.1 percent to 3,120.35 and the S&P 500 dipped 3.99 points or 0.3 percent to 1,412.52.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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