RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market on Wednesday saw an end to the modest three-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 22 points or 2.1 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell through the 1,060-point level from a nine-month closing high, and now analysts say the losses could accelerate at the opening of trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is heavy on pessimism, as many of the bourses are riding lengthy winning streaks and are overdue for a correction. Some uninspired economic data out of the United States adds to the negative sentiment. The European markets finished sharply lower, and the U.S. markets also ended firmly in the red, and the Asian markets are also forecast to move to the downside.
The KLCI finished modestly lower on Wednesday, thanks to profit taking from the recent winning streak. The financial sector finished significantly lower, while the plantations and the industrials wound up more modestly lower.
For the day, the index shed 8.22 points or 0.77 percent to close at the daily low of 1,055.40 after peaking at 1,065.29. Volume was 1.794 billion shares worth 1.330 billion ringgit. There were 420 gainers and 250 decliners, with 208 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Compugates, Sime Darby, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional finished lower, while Iris Corporation and Mulpha International wound up with modest gains.
Wall Street offers a negative lead as stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Wednesday, seeing a moderate retreat over the course of the trading session. The major averages all moved lower, as traders did some profit taking in reaction to some discouraging economic data.
Earlier in the day, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) said that private sector employment experienced another notable decline in the month of May, with the decrease in jobs slightly exceeding economist estimates. ADP said non-farm private employment fell by 532,000 jobs in May following a revised decrease of 545,000 jobs in April. Economists had expected a decrease of about 525,000 jobs compared to the decline of 491,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
While a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed a slower pace of contraction in the service sector in the May, the index of activity in the sector increased by less than economists had expected. The ISM said its index of activity in the service sector rose to 44.0 in May from 43.7 in April, although a reading below 50 indicates a continued contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting a somewhat more notable increase to a reading of 45.0.
Additionally, the Commerce Department released data showing a notable increase in factory orders in the month of April, but the increase came after a substantial decline in the previous month and came in slightly below economist estimates.
Traders largely shrugged off comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said recent data suggests that the economy will likely slow its pace of contraction on the back of improved consumer sentiment and consumer spending. Bernanke also warned of the potentially dire consequences of allowing the deficit to remain high and called on Congress to consider long-term steps for fiscal balance.
While the major averages moved well off their worst levels of the day in late day trading, they remained firmly negative. The Dow closed down 65.63 points or 0.8 percent at 8675.24, the NASDAQ closed down 10.88 points or 0.6 percent at 1825.92, and the S&P 500 fell 12.98 points or 1.4 percent to 931.76.
In economic news, Malaysia is set to announce April numbers for imports, exports and trade balance on Thursday. Analysts are predicting a 28.1 percent decline on year for imports following the 28.7 percent contraction in March. Exports are called lower by an annual 21.8 percent after the 15.6 percent fall in the previous month. The trade balance is forecast at 12.5 billion ringgit, holding steady from the previous month.
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