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Financials May Boost Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market headed south again on Monday, one session after it had ended the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 10 points or 0.3 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just beneath the 3,440-point plateau, although tick higher again on Tuesday.

The global forecast is mixed, with technology and oil stocks expected to cap gains from the broader markets. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were mixed, and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished modestly lower on Monday following mixed performances from the financial shares and the property stocks.

For the day, the index shed 11.07 points or 0.32 percent to finish at 3,438.47 after trading between 3,434.19 and 3,454.12. Volume was 1.5 billion shares worth 0.8 billion Singapore dollars. There were 260 decliners and 175 gainers.

Among the actives, Golden Agri-Resources plunged 1.32 percent, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding tumbled 1.30 percent, Singapore Press Holdings spiked 1.09 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust skidded 1.06 percent, Thai Beverage dropped 1.04 percent, United Overseas Bank shed 1.02 percent, Comfort DelGro lost 0.98 percent, CapitaLand fell 0.84 percent, Genting Singapore jumped 0.75 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust added 0.49 percent, SingTel advanced 0.27 percent, DBS Group collected 0.08 percent and Hutchison Port Holdings, Global Logistic Properties, SembCorp Industries and Ascendas REIT all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is murky as stocks turned mixed Monday after an initial move to the upside. The Dow reached a new record closing high, but the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 ended in the red.

The Dow rose 58.46 points or 0.24 percent to 24,290.05, but the NASDAQ tumbled 72.22 points or 1.05 percent to 6,775.37 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.78 points or 0.11 percent to 2,639.44.

Traders reacted to news that Senate Republicans narrowly approved a massive tax reform bill early Saturday morning. The Senate voted 51 to 49 in favor of the bill known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with the vote coming down along party lines.

The pullback by the NASDAQ partly reflected concerns that technology companies will not benefit as much from the tax cuts.

In economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing a modest decrease in new orders for manufactured goods in October.

Crude oil futures fell Monday for the first time in three sessions as a strong dollar dented commodity prices. January WTI oil was down 89 cents or 1.5 percent to settle at $57.47/bbl.

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