RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market was higher by less than a point on Monday, but that was enough to extend its winning streak to four sessions - collecting more than 20 points or 1.9 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index remained above the 1,150-point plateau, and now analysts are predicting that the market could creep higher when it kicks off trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian bourses again provides little in the way of guidance, with financial and property stocks expected to post mild gains and nudge the markets into positive territory. Some better than expected economic news out of the United States could add to sentiment, although it also may wan on mixed corporate results. The European markets were modestly higher and the U.S. bourses tipped slightly higher, and the Asian markets are predicted also to move slightly higher.

The KLCI finished barely higher on Monday, as solid gains among the industrial stocks were all but erased by selling among the financials and the plantations.

For the day, the index was up 0.55 points or 0.05 percent to close at 1,156.43 after trading between 1,148.26 and 1,156.43. Volume was 987.228 million shares worth 1.215 billion ringgit. There were 455 gains and 215 decliners, with 238 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, KNM, SAAG Consolidated and Scomi Group all finished higher, while Astral Supreme, Sime Darby, Maybank, Bumiputra-Commerce and Tenaga ended in negative territory.

The lead from Wall Street is flat with perhaps a touch of upside as stocks staged a modest rally in late session trading after experiencing a largely lackluster session on Monday. The major averages were all able to finish in positive territory by mild margins on another day marred by low volume.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing that new home sales in the month of June increased by much more than expected. New home sales jumped by 11 percent, the sharpest increase in nearly nine years.

The Commerce Department showed that new home sales rose to an annual rate of 384,000 in June from the revised May rate of 346,000. Economists had expected sales to rise to 352,000 from the 342,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The stronger than expected sales growth came amid a pullback in prices, with the median sales price of new houses sold in June falling 5.8 percent to $206,200 from $219,000 in the previous month. The median sales price had increased for two consecutive months.

In earnings news, RadioShack (RSH), Tellabs (TLAB) and Corning (GLW) reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, while Verizon (VZ) and Honeywell (HON) reported results that were in-line with expectations. Aetna (AET), however, was one of the major firms whose quarterly earnings fell short of estimates.

The major averages showed a notable move to the upside going into the close, ending the session just above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 15.27 points or 0.2 percent at 9,108.51, the NASDAQ climbed by 1.93 points or 0.1 percent to 1,967.89 and the S&P 500 rose by 2.92 points or 0.3 percent at 982.18.

In economic news, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday announced series of targets that should be met by the government in next few years. Najib said the government will continue the initiatives to ensure the successful reform and structural change in the economy, the state news agency reported.

According to his key performance indicators, street crime would be reduced by 20 percent by the end of 2010. Other targets relate to improving public transport, education and rural development. He also announced lead ministers for the six national key results areas.

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