The Singapore stock market on Monday wrote a finish to the three-day losing streak in which it had fallen almost 100 points or 3.6 percent. The Straits Times Index finished just above the 2,790-point plateau, and now investors are looking for further support when the market kicks off trade on Tuesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic after many of the regional bourses were brutally oversold last week - although the bargain hunting may be limited by persistent concerns from Europe. Spain may see another economic contraction in the second quarter of this year, Economy Minister Luis De Guindos reportedly said on Monday. The minister also denied that Spain needs any kind of external aid for its banking sector. The European and U.S. markets were higher on Monday and the Asian markets are expected to open in similar fashion.
The STI finished modestly higher on Monday following support from the financial shares and plantation stocks.
For the day, the index rose 11.06 points or 0.40 percent to finish at 2,790.16 after trading between 2,768.48 and 2,794.97 on volume of 1.16 billion shares. There were 243 gainers and 98 decliners.
Among the actives, Oversea-Chinese Banking added 0.71 percent, while Singapore Airlines shed 0.58 percent, Olam International jumped 2.6 percent, Golden Agri-Resources collected 0.8 percent, Neptune Orient Lines climbed 1.9 percent and CapitaMalls Asia gathered 0.7 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks saw significant strength on Monday, regaining some ground after falling to a four-month low on Friday. The markets benefited from bargain hunting but remain sharply lower for the month of May. The Dow ended a six-session losing streak, although it still marked just its second gain in fourteen sessions.
Trading activity was subdued, as lingering concerns about Europe and a lack of major U.S. economic data kept some traders on the sidelines. While reports on home sales, durable goods orders, and consumer sentiment will be in focus later this week along with earnings news from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), and Best Buy (BBY), trading activity may remain light.
Among individual stocks, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) posted a strong gain after the apparel retailer announced plans to exit its children's business 77kids. Shares of Yahoo (YHOO) also ended the day higher after the online media giant announced that it is selling up to half of its stake in Alibaba back to the Chinese e-commerce company for about $7.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Lowe's (LOW) posted a steep loss after the home improvement retailer reported better than expected first quarter results but lowered its full year earnings guidance. Shares of Facebook (FB) also came under pressure, with the social media giant tumbling by 11 percent following its glitch-plagued debut on Friday.
The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session just off their highs. The Dow rose 135.10 points or 1.1 percent to finish at 12,504.48, while the NASDAQ jumped 68.42 points or 2.5 percent to end at 2,847.21 and the S&P 500 climbed 20.77 points or 1.6 percent to 1,315.99.
In economic news, Singapore's domestic wholesale trade increased a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent quarter-over-quarter in the first quarter, Statistics Singapore said on Monday, recovering from the fourth quarter's revised 4.7 percent decrease.
The overall growth in sales was driven mainly by a 6.6 percent annual gain in sales of petroleum and petroleum products. Wholesale sales of food, beverages and tobacco rose 8.1 percent sequentially, while sales of household equipment and furniture climbed 8.8 percent. There was a 3.8 percent increase in wholesale sales of electronic components during the quarter.
On an annual basis, wholesale sales decreased at a slower rate of 3.9 percent in the first quarter than the previous quarter's rate of 5.3 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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