RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, falling 24 points or 2.2 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index is clinging to support at the 1,160-point plateau, although now analysts are predicting a modest recovery for the market by the opening of trade on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly optimistic as stocks around the world began to recover from steep losses in recent sessions. Technology stocks are expected to be in favor, as are the steel and financial shares. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in positive territory, and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.

The KLCI finished slightly lower on Tuesday, thanks to significant losses among the plantations and slight declines from the financial and industrial issues.

For the day, the index eased 4.64 points or 0.40 percent to close at 1,164.41 after trading between 1,156.19 and 1,169.05. Volume was 1.003 billion shares worth 1.525 billion ringgit. There were 403 gainers and 249 decliners, with 206 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, KNM Group, MRCB, UEM Land and TA all finished higher, while Telekom Malaysia, Bumiputra-Commerce, IOI Corp, Sime Darby, Maybank and Tenaga ended in negative territory.

The lead from Wall Street is solidly positive as stocks saw notable strength on Tuesday, partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session amid some encouraging earnings reports. The major averages all finished in positive territory by solid margins, but they remain well off their recent highs.

Buying interest was boosted early on by a set of positive earning reports, with Home Depot (HD), Saks (SKS) and Target (TGT) all exceeding Wall Street estimates on the bottom line, although their revenues fell short of estimates.

Optimism won out despite the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected decrease in housing starts in the month of July. The report said that housing starts fell 1.0 percent to an annual rate of 581,000 in July from the revised June estimate of 587,000. Economists had expected starts to rise to 598,000 from the 582,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Separately, the Labor Department revealed that producer prices dropped 0.9 percent in July following a 1.8 percent increase in the previous month. Economists had expected the measure to slip 0.3 percent for the month. Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy sectors, ticked down 0.1 percent in July. Economists were looking for core prices to edge up by 0.1 percent.

While the major averages pulled back off their highs for the session going into the close, they remained firmly in positive territory. The Dow closed up by 82.07 points or 0.9 percent at 9,217.41, the Nasdaq advanced by 25.08 points or 1.3 percent to 1,955.92 and the S&P 500 rose by 9.94 points or 1 percent to 989.67.

In economic news, Malaysia's manufacturing sales value decreased 25.5 percent on a yearly basis in June compared to a revised 25.6 percent fall in the preceding month, the Department of Statistics said on Tuesday. The number of employees in the manufacturing sector fell 7.8 percent year-on-year in June, and salaries and wages dropped 6.9 percent. Productivity of labor was down 19.2 percent.

Month-on-month, the sales value rose 6.7 percent in June to MYR39.3 billion from MYR36.8 billion in the preceding month. The number of employees rose 0.2 percent, salaries and wages climbed 2 percent and productivity increased 6.5 percent. In the first six months of the year, the sales value of the manufacturing sector fell 25.9 percent compared with the corresponding period of last year.

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