Soft Start Anticipated For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market on Wednesday ended the five-day losing streak in which it had stumbled more than 115 points or 3.5 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,170-point plateau although it's likely to open under pressure again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft, with financials likely to lead the way lower amid fresh concerns over the stability of the sector. The European and U.S. markets were mostly lower and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.

The STI finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares, REITs and industrials, while the property sector was mixed.

For the day, the index improved 43.17 points or 1.38 percent to finish at 3,172.92 after trading between 3,157.93 and 3,186.92.

Among the actives, Ascendas REIT and Mapletree Logistics Trust both rallied 1.82 percent, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust soared 2.17 percent, CapitaLand Investment increased 0.86 percent, City Developments eased 0.14 percent, Comfort DelGro strengthened 1.72 percent, DBS Group spiked 1.98 percent, Genting Singapore added 0.98 percent, Hongkong Land slipped 0.22 percent, Keppel Corp advanced 1.13 percent, Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust surged 2.38 percent, Mapletree Industrial Trust gained 0.87 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation improved 1.66 percent, SATS skyrocketed 5.04 percent, SembCorp Industries climbed 1.50 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering accelerated 1.77 percent, SingTel gathered 0.42 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 1.29 percent, Wilmar International jumped 1.76 percent, Yangzijiang Financial tumbled 1.32 percent and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Emperador and Thai Beverage were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is largely negative as the major averages opened sharply lower on Wednesday. A late push pared the losses and nudged the NASDAQ barely into the green.

The Dow tumbled 280.83 points or 0.87 percent to finish at 31,874.57, while the NASDAQ perked 5.90 points or 0.05 percent to close at 11,434.05 and the S&P 500 sank 27.36 points or 0.70 percent to end at 3,891.93.

The weakness on Wall Street was fueled by weakness from the financial sector.

In addition to ongoing concerns about turmoil in the financial sector following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, short-term debt woes of Swiss lender Credit Suisse contributed to the bearish sentiment in the market.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said retail sales in U.S. fell slightly more than expected in February. Also, the Labor Department said producer prices in the U.S. unexpectedly edged slightly lower last month.

Crude oil prices plunged to their lowest level since December 2021 on Wednesday, amid rising concerns about global economic growth and worries about the outlook for energy demand after data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate futures for April tumbled 5 percent at $67.61 a barrel.

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