RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has finished lower now in three straight sessions, giving away more than 8 points or 0.85 percent in the process. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index slid below the 1,170-point plateau, and now investors are predicting further downside pressure when the market opens for business on Thursday.

The global forecast provides little in the way of guidance for the Asian markets, although a touch of downside could drag the markets lower. Housing stocks and financials are expected to extend losses from the previous session, although gold miners are predicted to surge. The European and U.S. markets finished slightly lower, and the Asian markets are also expected to track to the downside.

The KLCI finished slightly lower again on Wednesday, thanks to mild losses among the plantations - while the financials and the industrials ended slightly below the unchanged line.

For the day, the index eased 3.27 points or 0.3 percent to finish at 1,168.01. Volume was 522.269 million shares worth 905.813 million ringgit. There were 421 decliners and 181 gainers, with 239 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Riverview, LKT Industrial, Dutch Lady, KNM, Multi Sports, YTL Power, TAS Offshore, Sime Darby and Maybank all finished lower, while Tenaga Nasional and Compugates were flat and British American Tobacco, Tien Wah Press, UBG, Tanjong Public, Bumiputra-Commerce and IOI Corp all finished with modest gains.

Wall Street puts forth a mildly pessimistic lead as stocks lingered near the unchanged mark for much of the trading day before a tame late session sell-off resulted in a modestly lower close on Wednesday. The major averages all closed on the downside, as traders largely shrugged off today's economic data and looked towards key employment data to close out the week.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its August meeting, indicating that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee are more confident that the economic downturn is ending and that growth is likely to resume in the second half of the year. The committee members said that their projections for the second half of 2009 and for subsequent years had not changed appreciably since the June meeting, except that they now saw smaller downside risks.

Nonetheless, while the members saw signs of stabilization in consumer spending and housing, most agreed that the economy is likely to recover only slowly during the second half of this year and all saw it as still vulnerable to adverse shocks.

In other economic news today, the Commerce Department issued a report showing that factory orders increased by less than economists had been expecting in July.

Meanwhile, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) said that non-farm private employment fell by more than economists had been anticipating in August, although the loss of jobs still marked the smallest drop in employment since September of 2008.

Separately, the Labor Department released its revised report on labor productivity in the second quarter, showing that productivity increased by more than previously estimated amid a smaller than expected drop in output.

The major averages saw some downside in late session trading, resulting in a lower close. The Dow closed down 29.93 points or 0.3 percent at 9,280.67, the NASDAQ fell by 1.82 points or 0.1 percent to 1,967.07 and the S&P 500 declined by 3.29 points or 0.3 points to close at 994.75.

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