RTTNews - The Indonesian stock market has finished higher now in seven straight sessions, surging more than 180 points or 9 percent on its way to a fresh nine-month closing high. The Jakarta Composite Index finished above the 2,030-point plateau, and now analysts say the market could add to those gains at the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive following U.S. President Barack Obama's historic speech in Egypt aimed at mending ties with the Muslim world. Some better than expected economic data out of the U.S. adds to the positive sentiment. The European markets finished mixed with a touch of upside, while the U.S. markets ended firmly in positive territory - and the Asian markets are forecast to move higher as well.
The JCI finished sharply higher again on Thursday, bucking the regional trend of decline on strength from the financial sector. For the day, the index was up 21.80 points or 1.08 percent to close at 2,032.72 after trading between 1,989.79 and 2,033.05. Leading the gainers, Bank Danamon was up 7.8 percent and Bank Mandiri added 2.3 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is optimistic as stocks resumed their upward move on Thursday following a modest pullback in the previous session. The major averages firmed their position in positive territory in mid-afternoon trading after an uncertain start to the day's session, posting strong gains on the day.
Ahead of the start of trading, traders were presented with employment data from the Labor Department that showed a decrease in first time jobless claims for the week ended May 30. The report also indicated the first decrease in continuing claims in 20 weeks as initial jobless claims fell to 621,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 625,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge down to 620,000 from the 623,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Continuing claims fell to 6.735 million in the week ended May 23 from the preceding week's revised level of 6.750 million. The modest decrease in continuing claims breaks a recent streak of record highs and marks the first decrease since the week ended January 3.
In a separate report, the Labor Department revised its labor productivity figures for the first quarter, revealing a mild increase in the pace of growth. The report also showed that unit labor costs increased by less than previously estimated.
On the corporate front, membership warehouse operator Costco Wholesale (COST) reported a 7 percent drop in its comparable sales for the four-week period ended May 31 with a 5 percent decline in net sales. A number of other retailers also reported their monthly sales results, with Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), J.C. Penney (JCP), Bon-Ton (BONT) and American Apparel (APP) all reporting declining sales on a comparable store basis.
Retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) did not release its monthly sales results, however, as the company announced last month that it would cease providing its monthly results.
The upward move seen over the course of the trading day came as traders shrugged off some uncertainty ahead of Friday's report from the Labor Department detailing the employment situation for the month of May.
The major averages saw further upside in late session trading and closed just off of their best levels of the day. The Dow climbed 74.96 points or 0.9 percent to 8,750.24, the NASDAQ finished up 24.10 points or 1.3 percent at 1,850.02 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.70 points or 1.1 percent at 942.46.
In economic news, Indonesia's consumer confidence index improved in May, the Bank Indonesia said Thursday. In May, the consumer confidence increased 3.4 points to 105.9 compared to the previous month. A year earlier, the confidence index was 82.4.
At the same time, the current economic conditions rose 2.8 points to 91, while consumer expectation index increased 4.1 points to 120.9. On an annual basis, the consumer confidence index increased 23.5 points in May, while consumer opinion on economic conditions improved 12.2 points.
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