The Singapore stock market bounced right back to the upside again on Monday, one session after it had ended the two-day winning streak in which it had spiked almost 65 points or 2 percent. The Straits Times Index settled just below the 3,345-point plateau, although the market is looking at renewed weakness again on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, due mainly to continued downward pressure on the price of oil. The European markets ended higher and the U.S. bourses were down, and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished slightly higher on Monday following mixed performances from the financials, properties and plantations, although weakness from the industrials capped the overall upside.

For the day, the index gained 6.45 points or 0.19 percent to finish at 3, 344.89 after trading between 3,331.72 and 3,347.76. Volume was 1.1 billion shares worth 906 million Singapore dollars. There were 245 decliners and 159 gainers, with 538 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp shed 0.96 percent, while SembCorp dipped 0.48 percent, City Developments dropped 1.27 percent, CapitaMall Trust climbed 0.97 percent, Singapore Exchange jumped 1.93 percent, DBS Group lost 0.50 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 0.43 percent, Noble Group fell 1.35 percent and Wilmar International eased 0.31 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks remained stuck in the red throughout Monday, continuing the substantial volatility that was seen last week.

The Dow fell 96.53 points or 0.5 percent to 17,737.37, while NASDAQ slid 39.36 points or 0.8 percent to 4,664.71 and the S&P 500 dropped 16.55 points or 0.8 percent to 2,028.26.

The weakness followed another sharp drop by the price of crude oil, which has fallen to its lowest levels in almost six years. Crude for February delivery tumbled $ 2.29 to $ 46.07 a barrel after plunging $ 4.33 or 8.2 percent to $ 48.36 a barrel last week.

The continued drop in oil prices reflects concerns about oversupply, which led analysts at Goldman Sachs to cut their three-month forecasts for the U.S. West Texas Intermediate contract to $ 41 from $ 70 a barrel.

Traders also expressed some trepidation ahead of the start of earnings reporting season.

by RTT Staff Writer

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