Soft Start Seen For Singapore Stock Market

Bloomberg

The Singapore stock market bounced higher again on Thursday, one day after ending the two-day winning streak in which it had picked up almost 25 points or 0.7 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,235-point plateau although it’s expected to open in the red on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on renewed concerns over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were sharply lower and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials and mixed performances from the property stocks and industrials.

For the day, the index gained 12.35 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 3,235.01 after trading between 3,232.11 and 3,255.33.

Among the actives, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust added 0.51 percent, while CapitaLand Investment accelerated 1.49 percent, City Developments jumped 1.04 percent, Comfort DelGro dropped 0.68 percent, DBS Group advanced 0.64 percent, Genting Singapore and Venture Corporation both sank 0.56 percent, Hongkong Land fell 0.33 percent, Keppel DC REIT and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation both rallied 1.18 percent, Keppel Ltd perked 0.27 percent, Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust spiked 1.52 percent, Mapletree Industrial Trust rose 0.43 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust soared 2.04 percent, SembCorp Industries surged 2.79 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering gained 0.50 percent, SingTel slumped 0.82 percent, Thai Beverage tumbled 1.02 percent, Wilmar International climbed 0.87 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding lost 0.53 percent and Yangzijiang Financial, SATS, Seatrium Limited and Emperador were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as the major averages opened higher on Thursday and spent much of the day in positive territory before a late plunge sent them deep into the red.

The Dow plummeted 530.16 points or 1.35 percent to finish at 38,596.98, while the NASDAQ tumbled 228.38 points or 1.40 percent to close at 16,049.08 and the S&P 500 sank 64.28 points or 1.23 percent to end at 5,147.21.

The late-day sell-off on Wall Street came amid a continued surge by the price of crude oil, which advanced for the fifth straight session and reached its highest levels since last October – raising concerns higher that energy prices will keep inflation elevated and convince the Federal Reserve to hold off on lowering interest rates.

Oil prices moved higher on Thursday, extending recent gains amid concerns about supply disruptions due to geopolitical tensions. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $1.16 or 1.4 percent at $86.59 a barrel, gaining for a fifth straight session.

Earlier in the session, stocks benefited from a positive reaction to a Labor Department report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected last week.

The advance by jobless claims generated some optimism about the outlook for interest rates, although the likelihood of a rate cut in June remains uncertain.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide February figures for retail sales later today; in January, sales were down 0.7 percent on month and up 1.3 percent on year. – RTT News

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