Win Streak May Run Out Of Steam For Singapore Stocks

( – The Singapore stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, collecting more than 20 points or 0.55 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index closed just below the 3,420-point plateau, although now the rally may stall on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, due largely to another tumble in the price of crude oil. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses ended firmly in the red – and the Asian markets are tipped to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the financial shares and telecoms were capped by mixed performances from the plantations and property stocks.

For the day, the index advanced 6.95 points or 0.20 percent to finish at 3,419.15 after trading between 3,404.17 and 3,427.19. Volume was 1.38 billion shares worth 1.23 billion Singapore dollars. There were 233 gainers and 177 decliners, with 529 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp climbed 1.45 percent, while City Developments jumped 0.99 percent, CapitaMall Trust tumbled 2.27 percent, Golden Agri-Resources shed 1.14 percent, Wilmar International spiked 1.56 percent, Noble Group advanced 2.44 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 0.56 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation added 0.57 percent and SingTel gained 1.00 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as stocks showed a substantial downturn on Wednesday. The losses extended the sell-off in the previous session, with the Dow falling to its lowest closing level in a month.

The Dow plunged 195.84 points or 1.1 percent to 17,191.37, while the NASDAQ slumped 43.50 points or 0.9 percent to 4,637.99 and the S&P 500 tumbled 27.39 points or 1.4 percent to 2,002.16.

The decline followed another steep drop by the price of crude oil, which fell to its lowest levels in almost six years. Crude for March delivery plunged $ 1.78 on the day to $ 44.45 a barrel, hitting its lowest closing level since March of 2006.

Concerns about the impact of lower oil prices offset the positive sentiment generated by upbeat earnings news, although Apple ( AAPL ) still posted a strong gain on the day. Other companies such as Electronic Arts ( EA ), Tupperware (TUP), and Boeing ( BA ) also reacted positively to their quarterly results.

Traders were also presented with the Federal Reserve’s first monetary policy announcement of the year. As widely expected, the Fed left interest rates unchanged and reiterated its pledge to remain patient in beginning to normalize monetary policy.

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