The Singapore stock market has closed lower now in three straight trading days, giving away more than 50 points or 1.9 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index finished just above the 2,770-point plateau, and now traders are looking at little action when the market opens on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat, with analysts expecting little movement as the U.S. bourses will remain closed for the Memorial Day holiday. Providing mild support was a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan showing that U.S. consumer sentiment in May had improved by more than expected. But lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe remain likely offset any positive sentiment. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were slightly lower - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The STI finished slightly lower on Friday, nudged into the red by weakness from the plantation stocks, although the properties provided support.
For the day, the index shed 6.78 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 2,772.75 after trading between 2,765.08 and 2,787.37. Volume was 1.19 billion shares worth 820 million Singapore dollars. There were 167 decliners and 165 gainers.
Among the actives, Olam International lost 1.8 percent, while Global Logistic Properties jumped 2.3 percent and CapitaMalls Asia climbed 2.9 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers mild pessimism as stocks turned in another lackluster performance on Friday, with many traders getting a head start on the long weekend. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line after closing mixed in each of the three previous sessions.
Traders largely shrugged off a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan showing that U.S. consumer sentiment in May had improved by more than previously estimated. The consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 79.3 from the mid-month reading of 77.8. The upward revision surprised economists, who had expected no change. The index now is well above the final April reading of 76.4 and is at its highest level since October of 2007.
Lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe likely offset any positive sentiment generated by the better than expected reading on consumer sentiment.
Among individual stocks, shares of Talbots (TLB) tumbled 41 percent after private equity firm Sycamore Partners said it is not prepared to acquire the women's apparel retailer. Verifone (PAY) also posted a steep loss after the electronic payments company reported better than expected second quarter earnings but forecast full year results.
Meanwhile, Frontline (FRO) posted a strong gain after the oil tanker operator reported better than expected first quarter earnings and provided upbeat guidance. Futures exchange operator CME Group (CME) also ended the day higher after announcing a 5-for-1 split of its common stock in the form of a 400 percent stock dividend.
The major averages eventually ended the day in the red as the Dow fell 74.92 points or 0.6 percent to finish at 12,454.83, while the NASDAQ edged down 1.85 points or 0.1 percent to end at 2,837.53 and the S&P 500 slipped 2.86 points or 0.2 percent to 1,317.82. Despite the losses on the day, the major averages all moved higher for the week, bouncing off last Friday's four-month lows. The Dow rose by 0.7 percent, while the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 advanced by 2.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
In economic news, Singapore's manufacturing output dropped 0.3 percent on year in April, the Economic Development Board said on Friday, smaller than the 3.1 percent decrease in March but missing forecasts for an increase 4.1 percent. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output increased 0.5 percent annually.
On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, manufacturing output contracted 3.5 percent in April. The expected rate of growth was 0.6 percent. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output slipped 0.8 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org