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Steady Start Tipped For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, slipping almost 15 points or 0.5 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,195-point plateau although it may find traction on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat amid a lack of catalysts, although crude oil offers mild support. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The STI finished modestly lower on Wednesday following losses from the financial shares, gains from the properties and a mixed picture from the industrials.

For the day, the index sank 11.87 points or 0.37 percent to finish at 3,195.76 after trading between 3,191.44 and 3,221.85. Volume was 1.92 billion shares worth 1.46 billion Singapore dollars. There were 273 gainers and 208 decliners.

Among the actives, Ascendas REIT spiked 0.98 percent, while CapitaLand rallied 0.80 percent, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust gained 0.46 percent, City Developments accelerated 0.86 percent, Comfort DelGro plunged 1.12 percent, Dairy Farm International shed 0.46 percent, DBS Group tumbled 1.00 percent, Genting Singapore declined 0.54 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust dropped 0.47 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust added 0.51 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation lost 0.34 percent, SATS slid 0.23 percent, SembCorp Industries tanked 1.02 percent, Singapore Airlines soared 1.06 percent, Singapore Exchange rose 0.30 percent, Singapore Press Holdings retreated 0.57 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering sank 0.51 percent, SingTel skidded 0.81 percent, United Overseas Bank fell 0.27 percent, Wilmar International eased 0.18 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding surged 3.97 percent and Keppel Corp and Thai Beverage were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed and little changed.

The Dow rose 16.02 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 33,446.26, while the NASDAQ eased 9.54 points or 0.07 percent to end at 13,688.84 and the S&P 500 was up 6.01 points or 0.15 percent to close at 4,079.95.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders sought more clarity about the near-term outlook for the markets - which have risen to record highs in recent sessions, but traders may be worried the markets are becoming overbought.

Traders also kept an eye on the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting, although the central bank only reiterated that it is unlikely to change its ultra-loose monetary policy anytime soon.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in February.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, supported by data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.44 or 0.7 percent at $59.77 a barrel.

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