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Soft Start Expected For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market has finished lower in two straight sessions, sinking more than 30 points or 1 percent in that span. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,180-point plateau and it's in line for continued consolidation again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on renewed concerns about the coronavirus and its repercussions. The European and U.S. markets were down on Friday and the Asian markets are now expected to open in similar fashion.

The STI finished modestly lower on Friday following losses from the financial shares and property stocks.

For the day, the index lost 17.65 points or 0.55 percent to finish at 3,181.03 after trading between 3,179.37 and 3,200.73. Volume was 1.62 billion shares worth 1.23 billion Singapore dollars. There were 280 decliners and 135 gainers.

Among the actives, Hongkong Land Holdings plummeted 3.47 percent, Singapore exchange plunged 2.27 percent, Wilmar International soared 1.73 percent, Comfort DelGro tumbled 1.46 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust skidded 1.26 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust retreated 0.99 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust and Dairy Farm International Holdings both declined 0.97 percent, SingTel dropped 0.96 percent, CapitaLand sank 0.80 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust shed 0.79 percent, United Overseas Bank lost 0.73 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering fell 0.70 percent, SembCorp Industries slid 0.50 percent, Ascendas REIT dipped 0.30 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation eased 0.18 percent, DBS Group was down 0.08 percent and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Genting Singapore, Thai Beverage and Singapore Press Holdings were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks opened firmly in the red on Friday and remained there throughout the sessions, extending recent losses.

The Dow shed 227.57 points or 0.78 percent to end at 28,992.41, the NASDAQ lost 174.38 points or 1.79 percent to 9,576.59 and the S&P 500 fell 35.48 points or 1.05 percent to 3,337.75. For the week, the Dow shed 1.4 percent, the NASDAQ fell 1.6 percent and the S&P slumped 1.3 percent.

The sell-off on Wall Street came as traders tracked the latest coronavirus news, with Chinese officials reporting 1,109 new confirmed cases of the illness, up sharply from 349 cases the previous day.

In economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported a pullback in existing home sales in January - although home sales in January were up by 9.6 percent on an annual basis.

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday on reports suggesting a rift in the crude-production alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $0.50 or 0.9 percent at $53.38 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide January data for consumer prices later today; in December, inflation was up 0.3 percent on month and 0.8 percent on year.

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