RTTNews - The Indonesian stock market fell by less than a point on Wednesday, but that was enough to halt the four-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 100 points or 4 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index maintained the 2,380-point plateau, although analysts are expecting a mild retreat at the opening of trade on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of downside, but they are not expected to show much movement. Housing, technology and airline stocks could see solid gains, but they're likely to be countered by selling among the railroad stocks and the commodities. European markets ended firmly in negative territory, while the U.S. markets ended barely above the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are projected to trade slightly to the downside.

The JCI finished essentially flat on Wednesday, as investors locked in gains from the recent rally - particularly among the telecoms.

For the day, the index eased 0.43 points or 0.02 percent to close at 2,380.08 after trading between 2,366.28 and 2,387.38. Volume was 7.4 billion shares worth 4.96 trillion rupiah. There were 100 decliners and 89 gainers, with 80 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the decliners, Telekomunikasi Indonesia lost 1.2 percent, while Unilever Indonesia fell 1.4 percent, Batubara Bukit Asam shed 1.5 percent and Indo Tambangraya Megah declined 2.6 percent.

Finishing higher, Jasa Marga rose 6.8 percent, Bisi Internasional gained 7.2 percent and Indofood Sukses Makmur added 1.9 percent.

Wall Street offers not much in the way of guidance as stocks finished Wednesday's session little changed, with the day's trading marred by choppy movement despite largely positive news on the economic front. The major averages closed only slightly higher after turning in another lackluster trading session. Some traders remained on the sidelines ahead of the Thursday's weekly jobless claims report, which is expected to show a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits.

Some of the day's early upside came on the heels of data on new home sales, which increased by much more than expected in the month of July, according to a report released by the Commerce Department. The report showed that new home sales surged up by 9.6 percent to an annual rate of 433,000 in July from the revised June rate of 395,000. Economists had been expecting sales to edge up to 390,000 from the 384,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Some positive sentiment was also generated by a report from the Commerce Department showing a much bigger than expected increase in durable goods orders in the month of July, with the growth largely due to a substantial rebound in orders for transportation equipment. The report showed that new orders for durable goods jumped 4.9 percent in July following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in June. Economists had expected orders to increase by 3.2 percent compared to the 2.2 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding an 18.4 percent increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders increased by a much more modest 0.8 percent in July compared to a 2.5 percent increase in June. The increase came in below economist estimates of 1.0 percent growth.

In other news, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart said earlier today that although he believes the worst of the economic downturn has passed, the economic recovery will be slow and will contribute to a protracted period of high unemployment.

The major averages showed a slight upward move going into the close, ending the day just above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 4.23 points at 9,543.52, the NASDAQ gained 0.20 points to finish at 2024.43 and the S&P 500 rose by 0.12 to 1,028.12.

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