RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has stretched its winning streak to three sessions, gathering a modest 8 points or 0.6 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index is closing on the 1,190-point plateau, although now analysts are calling for a mild withdrawal by the opening of trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a negative bias - particularly as investors may look to consolidate their positions after strong gains in the previous trading day. Commodities could see significant selling pressure, along with properties and airlines. The European markets were mostly lower, while the U.S. bourses ended slightly in negative territory - and the Asian markets are tipped also to move to the downside.
The KLCI finished slightly lower on Monday, as gains among the financials and plantations were offset by selling among the industrial issues.
For the day, the index was up 3.12 points or 0.26 percent to close at 1,188.00 after trading between 1,182.45 and 1,191.00. Volume was 862.677 million shares worth 1.285 billion ringgit. There were 415 gainers and 266 decliners, with 218 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Land & General, Hexza Corp, Sime Darby, Bumiputra-Commerce and Tenaga all finished higher, while Jotech Holdings was flat and KNM Group and Maybank ended slightly lower.
The lead from Wall Street has a touch of downside as stocks posted modest losses on Monday with traders cashing in on recent gains amid a lack of significant moves. The major averages all finished in negative territory, kicking off the week on a sour note. The decline came ahead of some key economic reports on tap for this week, including data on retail sales, industrial production and weekly jobless claims.
Further, the Federal Open Market Committee will make its interest rate announcement on Wednesday, with the key fed funds rate expected to remain unchanged amid a challenging economic environment.
On the corporate front, Freddie Mac (FRE) said late Friday that it no longer needs government aid, as the mortgage lender posted a positive net worth. Benefiting from accounting adjustments and gains, Freddie Mac reported a second quarter profit of $821 million on a notable increase in revenues to $7.47 billion from last year's $1.59 billion.
Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) reported a 14 percent increase in second quarter earnings, fueled by gains from derivatives trading, which soared to $1.53 billion from $453 million in the second quarter of last year. The firm earned $1,147 per share, while Wall Street analysts expected the company to earn $1,238 per share for the quarter.
Microsoft (MSFT), which recently struck a ten-year deal with Yahoo (YHOO) to share search engine technology and ad revenue, announced an agreement with French ad company Publicis to sell its Razorfish digital advertising unit.
The major averages regained some ground going into the close of trading, although they remained stuck in the red. The Dow closed down by 32.12 points or 0.3 percent at 9,337.95, the NASDAQ slipped by 8.01 points or 0.4 percent to 1,992.24 and the S&P 500 fell by 3.38 points or 0.3 percent to 1,007.10.
In economic news, industrial production in Malaysia fell 9.6 percent year-on-year in June, slower than a revised 11.3 percent fall in the preceding month, the Department of Statistics said on Monday. Economists expected a fall of 9.2 percent. The decline was mainly due to a drop in mining and manufacturing output.
Manufacturing output dropped 13.1 percent on an annual basis, while mining output fell 3.4 percent. However, production of electricity increased 2.5 percent. On a monthly basis, industrial output rose 0.2 percent in June. On the other hand, in the first six months of the year, industrial output dipped 12.7 percent compared with the same period last year.
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