Rally May Stall For Singapore Stock Market

(RTTNews) - The Singapore stock market has moved higher in three straight sessions, gathering more than 15 points or 0.5 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,330-point plateau although investors may cash in on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is wait and see ahead of the start on earnings season; a tumble in crude oil prices provides a negative bias as the European and U.S. markets were mixed and roughly flat.

The STI finished slightly higher on Thursday as gains from the plantations and industrials were capped by weakness from the properties and a mixed picture from the financials.

For the day, the index rose 3.17 points or 0.10 percent to finish at 3,330.82 after trading between 3,324.73 and 3,348.04. Volume was 1.15 billion shares worth 1.09 billion Singapore dollars. There were 229 decliners and 181 gainers.

Among the actives, SingTel surged 1.93 percent, while CapitaLand Mall Trust plummeted 1,24 percent, Thai Beverage and Singapore Press Holdings both plunged 1.21 percent, Wilmar International jumped 0.86 percent, CapitaLand tumbled 0.54 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust skidded 0.50 percent, Ascendas REIT dropped 0.34 percent, Keppel Corp climbed 0.15 percent, DBS Group shed 0.15 percent, Singapore Exchange sank 0.14 percent, United Overseas Bank lost 0.11 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.09 percent and Hutchison Port Holdings, Comfort DelGro, Golden Agri-Resources, SembCorp Industries, Genting Singapore and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks fluctuated on Thursday before ending mixed and little changed.

The Dow shed 14.11 points or 0.05 percent to end at 26,143.05, while the NASDAQ fell 16.88 points or 0.21 percent to 7,947.36 and the S&P 500 added 0.11 points to finish at 2,888.32.

Traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the upcoming earnings season, as analysts expect results to be disappointing. Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are due to report results later today, marking the unofficial start of the reporting season.

Lingering uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a potential U.S.-China trade deal also kept traders on the sidelines.

In economic news, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in nearly 50 years last week. Also, the Labor Department said a spike in energy prices contributed to a bigger than expected increase in U.S. producer prices in March.

Crude oil futures tumbled on Thursday on worries about a possible drop in demand for crude due to slowing global economy. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $1.03 or 1.6 percent at $63.58 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will release February data for retail sales later today; in January, sales added 0.2 percent on month and 7.6 percent on year.
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