(RTTNews) – The Singapore stock market has climbed higher in four straight sessions, gathering almost 60 points or 1.8 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,360-point plateau although investors figure to cash in on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft on concerns about the outlook for interest rates and economic slowdown. The European and US markets were sharply lower and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in the red.
The STI finished modestly higher on Friday following mixed performances from the financial shares, property stocks and industrial issues.
For the day, the index improved 12.65 points or 0.38 percent to finish at 3,361.11 after trading between 3,312.97 and 3,365.21. Volume was 1.7 billion shares worth 1.3 billion Singapore dollars. There were 225 decliners and 224 gainers.
Among the assets, Ascendas REIT dipped 0.34 percent, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust soared 1.74 percent, CapitaLand Investment and DBS Group both improved 0.75 percent, City Developments added 0.47 percent, Comfort DelGro shed 0.66 percent, Dairy Farm International and Mapletree Industrial Trust both fell 0.37 percent, Genting Singapore lost 0.61 percent, Hongkong Land slid 0.21 percent, Keppel Corp surged 2.41 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust jumped 1.05 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.25 percent, SembCorp Industries gained 0.34 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering dropped 0.72 percent, Thai Beverage slumped 0.70 percent, United Overseas Bank eased 0.06 percent, Wilmar International tumbled 1.09 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding plummeted 37.34 percent and Mapletree Logistics Trust, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Exchange, SATS, SingTel and Keppel DC REIT were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as the major averages opened solidly lower on Friday and saw the losses only accelerate as the day progressed.
The Dow plummeted 981.40 points or 2.82 percent, while the NASDAQ plunged 335.41 points or 2.55 percent to close at 12,839.29 and the S&P 500 tumbled 121.88 points or 2.77 percent to end at 4,271.78.
For the week, the Dow slumped 1.9 percent, the NASDAQ dropped 3.8 percent and the S&P fell 2.8 percent.
The continued weakness on Wall Street reflected ongoing concerns about the Federal Reserve aggressively tightening monetary policy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said he sees merit in “front-end loading” policy moves and indicated a 50-basis point rate hike would be on the table at the central bank’s next meeting in early May.
Crude oil futures skidded on Friday on fears over falling energy demand and concerns about an economic slowdown. The dollar’s surge amid Fed’s aggressive stance on tightening monetary policy weighed as well on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down by $1.72 or 1.7 percent at $102.07 a barrel.
Closer to home, Singapore will release March numbers for consumer prices later today, with forecasts suggesting an increase of 1 percent on month and 4.7 percent on year after climbing 0.9 percent on month and 4.3 percent on year in February. Core CPI is tipped to rise 2.4 percent on year, up from 2.2 percent in the previous month.
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