RTTNews - The Malaysian stock market has finished higher now in two of the last three sessions since snapping the losing streak that had reached more than 14 points or 1.3 percent. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index continues to hold support at 1,065 points, and now analysts are predicting slight movement to the upside on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets calls for little change, continuing the trend that has been largely pervasive all week as investors take a wait-and-see attitude as corporate earnings season continues to unfold. A mild recovery among the commodities spurred the European markets to a higher finish, while the U.S. bourses ended right near the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are expected to move slightly to the upside.
The KLCI finished barely higher on Thursday, as gains among the financial and industrial sectors were wiped out by losses among the plantation stocks that were hurt by falling commodity prices.
For the day, the index added 0.21 points or 0.02 percent to close at the daily high of 1,065.68 after dipping as low as 1,058.41. Volume was 697.589 million shares worth 1.146 billion ringgit. There were 349 gainers and 201 decliners, with 214 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Maybank, KNM Group, Sino Hua-An and Talam Corp all finished higher, while MISC, Sime Darby and Tenaga Nasional were flat and Batu Kawan, Astral Asia, KL Kepong, Axiata Group and IOI Corp ended lower.
Wall Street offers little guidance with a virtually flat lead with a touch of upside as stocks saw choppy trading over the course of Thursday's session, finishing up by modest margins following some encouraging employment data. The major averages all closed on the upside but were once again limited by low volume characteristic of the summer season. Trading has been relatively subdued in recent weeks, with traders staying on the sidelines as economists forecast that the economy will see a recovery near the end of the calendar year.
The day's buying interest was largely generated by a report from the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits decreased substantially in the week ended July 4. The report showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week. With the bigger than expected decrease, weekly jobless claims fell below the 600,000 level for the first time since January.
However, the report also showed that continuing claims, which measure the number of people continuing to claim unemployment benefits, rose to 6.883 million in the week ended June 27. The increase lifted continuing claims to a new record high.
Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, which showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales.
Dow component Alcoa (AA) unofficially kicked off the start of the earnings season after the closing bell yesterday, reporting at narrower loss than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.
While the Dow bounced back and forth across the unchanged line going into the close, the blue chip index managed to end the session up by 4.76 points or 0.1 percent at 8,183.17, the NASDAQ rose by 5.38 points or 0.3 percent to 1,752.55 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4 percent at 882.68.
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