Singapore Stock Market Draws Soft Start For Friday

The Singapore stock market on Thursday halted the two-day losing streak in which it had given away almost 20 points or 0.6 percent. The Straits Times Index ended just below the 3,340-point plateau, although the market may reverse those gains on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower, thanks to disappointing corporate earnings and continued downward pressure on the price of oil. The European markets were higher and the U.S. markets were down, and the Asian bourses are also expected to open lower.

The STI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the financials and properties were dent by weakness from the plantation stocks.

For the day, the index collected 12.68 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 3,338.84 after trading between 3,327.40 and 3,342.13. Volume was 1.28 billion shares worth 1.06 billion Singapore dollars. There were 223 gainers and 218 decliners, with 503 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, CapitaLand climbed 1.56 percent, while Hongkong Land jumped 1.35 percent, Golden Agri-Resources tumbled 4.35 percent, Wilmar International shed 0.62 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.68 percent, United Overseas Bank added 0.73 percent, SembCorp spiked 2.68 percent and Singapore Exchange advanced 1.79 percent.

The lead from Wall Street remains negative as stocks were volatile on Thursday but ended lower, extending a recent downtrend as the major averages were down for the fifth straight session.

The Dow slid 106.38 points or 0.6 percent to 17,320.71, while the NASDAQ tumbled 68.50 points or 1.5 percent to 4,570.82 and the S&P 500 fell 18.60 points or 0.9 percent to 1,992.67.

The continued weakness reflected a negative reaction to quarterly results from financial giants Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) – which both reported weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings.

A downturn by the price of crude oil also weighed on the markets, with crude for February delivery plunging $ 2.23 to $ 46.25 a barrel. The pullback came as OPEC lowered its demand forecast for 2015 to 28.8 million barrels a day.

Traders also digested a slew of U.S. economic data as well as news that the Swiss National Bank scrapped its currency cap on the franc versus the euro and lowered interest rates deeper into negative territory.

The Labor Department reported that producer prices fell at their fastest rate in over three years in December, although the drop was still smaller than expected. The Labor Department also said initial jobless claims jumped to their highest level in four months in the week ended January 10th.

Meanwhile, the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserves released a pair of reports painting a mixed picture of activity in the manufacturing sector.

Later this morning, Singapore will release December numbers for non-oil domestic exports. NODX is expected to dip 2.2 percent on year after gaining 1.6 percent in November. Electronics are tipped fall an annual 9.0 percent after tumbling 10.2 percent in the previous month.

by RTT Staff Writer

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