Renewed Selling Pressure Likely For Singapore Shares

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The Singapore stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last five trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 25 points or 0.8 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,260-point plateau although it figures to head south again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative on recession fears and concern over the outlook for interest rates. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets figure to follow that lead.

The STI finished barely higher on Thursday as strong gains from the industrials were offset by weakness from the financials and properties.

For the day, the index rose 1.28 points or 0.04 percent to finish at 3,263.07 after trading between 3,243.46 and 3,266.64. Volume was 1 billion shares worth 1.09 billion Singapore dollars. There were 257 decliners and 230 gainers.

Among the actives, Ascendas REIT rose 0.36 percent, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust lost 0.49 percent, CapitaLand Investment climbed 0.55 percent, City Developments was down 0.12 percent, Comfort DelGro clumped 0.71 percent, DBS Group eased 0.03 percent, Emperador tumbled 1.01 percent, Genting Singapore accelerated 1.26 percent, Hongkong Land dipped 0.21 percent, Keppel Corp jumped 0.83 percent, Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust and United Overseas Bank both shed 0.54 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust sank 0.60 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation fell 0.32 percent, SATS plummeted 5.13 percent, SembCorp Industries soared 2.53 percent, SingTel gained 0.37 percent, Wilmar International added 0.51 percent, Yangzijiang Financial spiked 1.28 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding surged 6.80 percent and Singapore Technologies Engineering, Thai Beverage, Mapletree Industrial Trust, Frasers Logistics and Keppel DC REIT were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street continues to be weak as the major averages opened lower on Thursday and remained in the red throughout the session.

The Dow shed 107.10 points or 0.35 percent to finish at 30,076.68, while the NASDAQ tumbled 153.39 points or 1.37 percent to end at 11,066.81 and the S&P 500 sank 31.94 points or 0.84 percent to close at 3,757.99.

The weakness on Wall Street reflected continued concerns about the economic outlook following the Federal Reserve's third straight 75-basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday.

While the Fed's economic projections provided a clearer outlook for future rate hikes, traders are concerned about the impact the aggressive rate increases will have on the economy. Several other central banks around the world followed the Fed's lead, including the Bank of England, which raised interest rates by 50 basis points in a split decision.

In economic news, Labor Department reported an uptick in jobless claims last week, while the Conference Board said its leading economic index fell by 0.3 percent in August after sliding by a revised 0.5 percent in July.

Crude oil prices settled higher on Thursday on concerns about tight supplies amid geopolitical tensions in Russia. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended higher by $0.55 or 0.7 percent at $83.49 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide August data for consumer prices later today. Overall inflation is expected to have risen 7.2 percent on year, up from 7.0 percent in July, while core CPI is tipped to advance to an annual 5.0 percent from 4.8 percent a month earlier.

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