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Singapore Shares May Run Out Of Steam On Friday

The Singapore stock market has climbed higher in three straight sessions, advancing more than 40 points or 1.2 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just beneath the 3,425-point plateau although investors may cash in on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is weak, thanks mainly to concerns over U.S> tax reform - although a bump in crude oil prices should limit the downside. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets are expected to open in similar fashion.

The STI finished slightly higher on Thursday as gains from the financial shares were capped by weakness from the properties.

For the day, the index picked up 2.66 points or 0.08 percent to finish at 3,423.91 after trading between 3,409.11 and 3,429.21. Volume was 2.5 billion shares worth 1.5 billion Singapore dollars. There were 288 decliners and 158 gainers.

Among the actives, Golden Agri-Resources surged 3.84 percent, while DBS Group spiked 2.27 percent, City Developments dropped 1.78 percent, Genting Singapore climbed 1.54 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust jumped 1.38 percent, CapitaLand skidded 1.37 percent, Hutchison Port Holdings tumbled 1.16 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.68 percent, United Overseas Bank added 0.67 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding shed 0.63 percent, SingTel fell 0.53 percent and Thai Beverage and Wilmar International were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks climbed off their worst levels but still ended Thursday trade firmly in the red - pulling back from record closing highs in the previous session.

The Dow shed 101.42 points or 0.43 percent to 23,461.94, while the NASDAQ lost 39.06 points or 0.58 percent to 6,750.05 and the S&P 500 fell 9.76 points or 0.38 percent to 2,584.62.

The weakness came as traders reacted to reports of the Senate version of tax reform legislation. The proposed bill has several key differences with the House version, including a delay in cutting in the corporate tax rate.

In economic news, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended November 4. Also, the Commerce Department said wholesale inventories rose 0.3 percent in September, matching estimates.

Crude oil futures continued to rise Thursday despite reports tempering expectation for further supply cuts from OPEC. WTI light sweet crude oil rose 35 cents to $57.16 a barrel after Wednesday's decline.

Closer to home, Singapore will see September figures for retail sales - which are expected to add 0.3 percent on month and 3.5 percent on year. That follows the 0.3 percent monthly decline and the 3.5 percent yearly gain in August.

by RTT Staff Writer

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