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Soft Start Seen For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market on Friday finally wrote a finish to the brutal slide that had stretched seven days to the tune of 21 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 2,410-point plateau although it may head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests continued consolidation as the coronavirus continues to hammer away at world economies. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished sharply higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares, plantation stocks and industrials.

For the day, the index jumped 99.74 points or 4.32 percent to finish at 2,410.74 after trading between 2,312.53 and 2,433.14. Volume was 2.02 billion shares worth 2.51 billion Singapore dollars. There were 376 gainers and 142 decliners.

Among the actives, Genting Singapore skyrocketed 13.73 percent, while Mapletree Logistics Trust surged 9.52 percent, Singapore Exchange soared 7.57 percent, Keppel Corp spiked 5.48 percent, CapitaLand accelerated 5.26 percent, Thai Beverage jumped 4.90 percent, DBS Group gathered 4.37 percent, Wilmar International climbed 4.04 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation perked 3.47 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 3.32 percent, Ascendas REIT dropped 2.33 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust advanced 2.31 percent, SingTel added 2.12 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding gained 1.83 percent, Singapore Airlines lost 1.63 percent, Comfort DelGro rose 1.39 percent, SembCorp Industries increased 1.26 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust fell 1.11 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust was up 0.68 percent and Singapore Press Holdings eased 0.55 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks shook off a higher open on Friday and sank into the red as the day progressed, offsetting gains from the previous session.

The Dow shed 913.21 points or 4.55 percent to finish at 19,173.98, while the NASDAQ sank 271.06 points or 3.79 percent to 6,879.52 and the S&P 500 lost 104.47 points or 4.34 percent to end at 2,304.92.

The early strength on Wall Street came on optimism that the relief and support packages announced by global central banks and several governments will help limit the impact of the virus outbreak.

But stocks turned lower in afternoon trade as the virus numbers and economic backlash continued to be worrisome.

Crude oil prices tanked on Friday despite several countries and central banks announcing relief packages to help limit the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $2.69 or 11 percent at $22.53 a barrel on expiration day.

Closer to home, Singapore will release February numbers for consumer prices later today; in January, inflation was down 0.2 percent on month and up 0.8 percent on year.

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