RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has finished higher now in two straight sessions, although it has collected only a modest 5 points or 0.4 percent in that time. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index has finished above the 1,180-point plateau, and now analysts are calling for additional upside pressure at the opening of trade on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is optimistic, fueled by better than expected economic data out of the United States. Properties and retail stocks are tipped to move higher, although some of the gains may be capped by profit taking among the commodities following last week's run-up. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in positive territory, and the Asian bourses are also projected to move higher.

The KLCI finished barely higher again on Friday, thanks to mild losses among the plantations and financials, as well as a flat performance from the industrials.

For the day, the index added 0.91 points or 0.08 percent to close at 1,184.88 after trading between 1,182.41 and 1,191.66. Volume was 1.01 billion shares worth 1.659 billion ringgit. There were 388 decliners and 276 gainers, with 232 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, KNM Group, SAAG Consolidated, Sime Darby and Maybank all finished lower, while Tenaga Nasional was flat and Public Bank, Axiata and Bumiputra-Commerce ended with modest gains.

Wall Street offers a broadly positive lead as stocks saw a notable rally on Friday, fueled by the day's encouraging economic data. The major averages all finished in positive territory by notable margins, offsetting some of the losses posted earlier in the week.

Buying interest in stocks was sparked by a Labor Department report showing that the pace of job losses slowed by even more than economists had been anticipating in the month of July. The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 247,000 jobs in July following a revised decrease of 443,000 jobs in June. Economists had been expecting employment to fall by 325,000 jobs compared to the drop of 467,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Additionally, the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged down to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent in June. With the decrease, the unemployment rate fell for the first time since April of 2008.

On the earnings front, American International Group (AIG) and Fannie Mae (FNM) saw mixed reaction to their quarterly results as the firms are lingering in the shadow of receiving government bailout funds last fall.

Meanwhile, Hansen Natural Corp. (HANS), Nvidia (NVDA) and AES Corp. (AES) largely beat estimates. Generally, companies have been able to surpass expectations on the bottom line via cost cutting, as revenue growth was limited by the recent economic conditions.

The major averages ceded some ground in late session trading but still finished with strong gains. The Dow closed up by 113.81 points or 1.2 percent at 9,370.07, the NASDAQ climbed by 27.09 points or 1.4 percent to 2,000.25, and the S&P 500 rose by 13.40 points or 1.3 percent to 1,010.48. With the gains, the major averages all closed higher for the week, marking the fourth consecutive week of gains. The Dow and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains of 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, while the NASDAQ rose by a more modest 1.1 percent for the week.

In economic news, Malaysia will on Monday release June figures for industrial production, with analysts expecting a fall of 9.2 percent on year after the 11.1 percent decline a month earlier.

Also, Malaysian international reserves stood at US$ 91.2 billion as on July 31, unchanged from July 15, the Bank Negara Malaysia said Friday. The reserves position is sufficient to finance 8.9 months of retained imports and is 3.8 times the short-term external debt, the bank said.

The foreign currency reserves increased to US$ 84.4 billion from US$ 84.3 billion, while gold reserves remained unchanged at US$ 0.4 billion. Meanwhile, country's reserve position with International Monitory Fund or IMF also stable at US$ 0.4 billion.

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