Singapore Stock Market Looking At Flat Lead

The Singapore stock market on Tuesday wrote a finish to the three-day winning streak in which it had gathered almost 20 points or 0.6 percent. The Straits Times Index ended just below the 3,500-point plateau, and the market figures to remain stuck in neutral again on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is muddled ahead of today's monetary policy statement from the Federal Reserve, plus growing geopolitical concerns. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The STI finished modestly lower on Tuesday following damage among the industrials and a mixed performance from the financials, properties and plantations.

For the day, the index lost 20.76 points or 0.59 percent to finish at 3,495.09 after trading between 3,490.79 and 3,514.71. Volume was 1.71 billion shares worth 1.37 billion Singapore dollars.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp dropped 2.56 percent, while CapitaLand added 0.80 percent, Hongkong Land shed 1.29 percent, DBS Group collected 0.48 percent, United Overseas Bank dipped 0.36 percent, Golden Agri-Resources lost 1.18 percent, Noble Group advanced 1.76 percent and SembCorp tumbled 2.60 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks were relatively lackluster on Tuesday, with the major averages eventually ending on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The NASDAQ fell 4.82 points or 0.1 percent to 5,055.42, while the Dow climbed 72.17 points or 0.4 percent to 18,110.14 and the S&P 500 rose 5.84 points or 0.3 percent to 2,114.76.

The early volatility followed reports that Iranian forces seized a cargo ship flagged to the Marshall Islands in the Strait of Hormuz. A U.S. Navy destroyer has been ordered to the region to keep an eye on the situation.

Uncertainty about the Fed's monetary policy announcement later today also weighed. While the Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged, traders will be paying close attention to any hints regarding the outlook for rates.

On the economic front, the Conference Board reported an unexpected pullback in U.S. consumer confidence in April.

Corporate earnings news was mixed, with Twitter (TWTR) and Whirlpool (WHR) missing the mark, while Merck (MRK) beat expectations.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide March data for producer prices later today; in February, prices were up 2.4 percent on month but down 11.8 percent on year.

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