(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market headed south again on Tuesday, one session after it had ended the five-day losing streak in which it had fallen almost 55 points or 1.7 percent. The Straits Times Index closed just below the 3,370-point plateau, and the market is looking at a narrow trading range again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is unclear, thanks to uncertainty ahead of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy decision later today. The European and U.S. markets were mixed but little changed, and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.

The STI finished slightly lower on Tuesday following losses from the plantation stocks and properties, plus a mixed bag from the financial shares.

For the day, the index lost 6.09 points or 0.18 percent to finish at 3,369.95 after trading between 3,366.57 and 3,397.93. Volume was 1.37 billion shares worth 1.15 billion Singapore dollars. There were 288 decliners and 177 gainers, with 466 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp shed 0.92 percent, while City Developments lost 0.67 percent, DBS Group collected 0.41 percent, United Overseas Bank fell 0.5 percent, Golden Agri-Resources dropped 1.23 percent, Wilmar International gave up 1.24 percent, Noble Group tumbled 3.23 percent, SingTel added 0.48 percent and Olam International gained 0.50 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is murky as stocks moved mostly lower on Tuesday before regaining ground. The major averages bounced well off their worst levels of the day, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ climbing into positive territory.

The NASDAQ added 7.93 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 4,937.43, while the Dow slid 128.34 points or 0.7 percent to 17,849.08 and the S&P 500 dipped 6.99 points or 0.3 percent to 2,074.20.

The early weakness was partly due to profit taking following Monday’s rally, although the selling pressure remained subdued – which facilitated the recovery attempt by the broader markets.

Traders were reluctant to take significant positions ahead of the Fed decision. The Fed is not expected to announce an increase in interest rates, but traders will be paying close attention to any changes to the accompanying statement.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department reported a substantial decrease in housing starts in February – which fell to their lowest annual rate since January of last year.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com