The Singapore stock market has closed lower in two of three trading days since the end of the five-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 70 points or 2.3 percent. The Straits Times Index ended just above the 3,060-point plateau, and now analysts are predicting little movement at the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with little movement and a slight downside bias - although the downside may be limited by bargain hunting following steep losses in the previous session. Mixed economic data from the United States adds to the uncertainty. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed, and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The STI finished modestly lower on Thursday following weakness from the plantation stocks.
For the day, the index dipped 13.02 points or 0.42 percent to finish at 3,062.61 after trading between 3,057.74 and 3,076.35 on volume of 1.43 billion shares. There were 301 decliners and 123 gainers.
Among the actives, Neptune Orient Lines dropped 2.2 percent.
The lead from Wall Street provides little clarity as stocks staged a notable recovery attempt over the course of the trading day after moving to the downside in early trading on Thursday. The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day, eventually ending the session mixed.
Disappointing data contributed to the early weakness, with the Labor Department reporting that jobless claims came in above estimates in the week ended September 15. Jobless claims edged down to 382,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 385,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 373,000 from the 382,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Traders remained reluctant to make any significant moves amid continued uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.
The afternoon recovery followed a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showing that its index of regional manufacturing activity rose by more than expected. The Philly Fed said its diffusion index of current activity rose to a negative 1.9 in September from a negative 7.1 in August, although a negative reading still indicates a contraction in regional manufacturing activity.
Among individual stocks, shares of Adobe Systems (ADBE) moved higher even though the publishing and design software developer reported weaker than expected Q3 revenues and forecast fourth quarter results below estimates. Denbury Resources (DNR) also posted strong gain after announcing an agreement to sell its Bakken assets in North Dakota and Montana to Exxon Mobil (XOM) for $1.6 billion.
The major U.S. markets were mixed but little changed on Thursday as the Dow crept up 18.97 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 13,596.93, while the NASDAQ fell 6.66 points or 0.2 percent to end at 3,175.96 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.79 points or 0.1 percent to close at 1,460.26.
by RTT Staff Writer
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