RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has finished higher now in two of three sessions since the modest two-day losing streak in which it had shed a dozen points or 1.2 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index closed just shy of the 1,180-point plateau, and now investors are anticipating little movement at the opening of trade on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian bourses offers little guidance with a flat opening likely in the cards. Financials and properties are expected to extend gains, but they'll likely be countered by profit taking among the oil, steel and retail stocks. The European markets finished modestly in negative territory, while the U.S. markets ended slightly positive - and the Asian markets are also expected to hover around the unchanged line.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Tuesday, thanks to gains among the financial stocks, plantations, properties and industrial issues.

For the day, the index added 8.57 points or 0.73 percent to close at 1,179.88 after trading between 1,171.31 and 1,181.93. Volume was 1.047 billion shares worth 1.658 billion ringgit. There were 403 gainers and 299 decliners, with 215 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, Nestle, British American Tobacco, Lafarge, Kinsteel, Sime Darby, Maybank, Tenaga Nasional, IOI Corp and Genting all finished higher.

Bucking the trend, Lion, SAAG Consolidated, KNM Group and Ramunia ended slightly lower.

Wall Street offers a barely positive lead as stocks ended Tuesday's trading on a positive note amid some late session buying interest following a choppy session. The major averages all finished in positive territory by moderate margins, building on yesterday's strong gains that helped the NASDAQ and S&P 500 cross key levels.

On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing that pending home sales growth in June exceeded economist estimates by a wide margin. With the increase, pending sales rose for the fifth consecutive month. NAR said its pending home sales index jumped 3.6 percent to 94.6 in June from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. Economists had been expecting a much more modest increase by the index of about 0.7 percent.

Earlier, the Commerce Department released a report showing that personal spending increased by slightly more than expected, while personal income fell by more than expected. The report showed that personal spending rose 0.4 percent in June following a revised 0.1 percent increase in May. Economists had been expecting spending to increase by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

At the same time, the Commerce Department said that personal income fell by 1.3 percent in June after increasing by a revised 1.3 percent in the previous month. The decrease compares to economist estimates of a 1.0 percent decline. Subsequently, the report said that personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 4.6 percent in June compared with 6.2 percent in May.

On the earnings front, Centex (CTX) was one of the few bright spots among a slew of disappointing results that included Pulte (PHM), D.R. Horton (DHI), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Tenet Healthcare (THC), among others.

The major averages showed a notable upward move going into the close, climbing back above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 33.63 points or 0.4 percent at 9,320.19, the NASDAQ advanced by 2.70 points or 0.1 percent to 2,011.31 and the S&P 500 rose by 3.02 points or 0.3 percent to 1,005.65.

In economic news, Malaysia will on Wednesday provide June figures for imports, exports and trade balance. Imports are expected to fall 25.6 percent on year after the 27.8 percent annual contraction in May. Exports are seen lower by 25.3 percent on year after the 29.7 percent decline in the previous month. The trade balance is expected to show a surplus of 9.6 billion ringgit, down from 10.02 billion ringgit a month earlier.

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