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Losses May Accelerate For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market on Thursday halted the three-day winning streak in which it had risen more than 40 points or 1.3 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,275-point plateau and it may take further damage on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on disappointing economic data and a slide in crude oil prices. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished barely lower on Thursday as losses from the financials were offset by support from the plantations and industrials.

For the day, the index eased 0.47 points or 0.01 percent to finish at 3,277.91 after trading between 3,262.99 and 3,286.08. Volume was 1.34 billion shares worth 1.16 billion Singapore dollars.

Among the actives, Golden Agri-Resources surged 3.85 percent, while CapitaLand soared 2.04 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering tumbled 1.59 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding spiked 1.41 percent, Thai Beverage jumped 1.27 percent, Wilmar International climbed 1.19 percent, DBS Group skidded 1.08 percent, Genting Singapore advanced 0.91 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation dropped 0.86 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust added 0.53 percent, Keppel Corp gained 0.47 percent, Ascendas REIT rose 0.36 percent, SingTel gathered 0.33 percent and Hutchison Port Holdings, Comfort DelGro, United Overseas Bank, SembCorp Industries and CapitaLand Mall Trust all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks moved lower Thursday following the release of a batch of largely disappointing U.S. economic data.

The Dow shed 103.81 points or 0.40 percent to 25,850.63, while the NASDAQ lost 29.36 points or 0.39 percent to 7,459.71 and the S&P fell 9.82 points or 0.35 percent to 2,774.88.

The weakness on Wall Street came on the heels of disappointing economic data, including a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showing a contraction in regional manufacturing activity for the first time since May 2016.

Also, the Commerce Department showed a smaller than expected increase in durable goods orders in January. The National Association of Realtors also said existing home sales unexpectedly fell to their lowest level in over three years in January. And the Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the week ended February 16th.

Optimism about trade talks between the U.S. and China helped to limit the downside on reports that the two sides have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their dispute.

Crude oil prices edged lower on Thursday, with concerns over excess supply in the market weighing on the commodity. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.20 or 0.4 percent at $56.96 a barrel.

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