(RTTNews) - The Singapore stock market has moved lower in two straight sessions, slipping almost 10 points or 0.3 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,240-point plateau although it may find traction on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive on easing concerns over the outlook for interest rates. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The STI finished slightly lower on Wednesday as losses from the industrials were offset by support from the REITs and mixed performances from the financials and properties.
For the day, the index eased 3.34 points or 0.10 percent to finish at 3,242.46 after trading between 3,238.70 and 3,256.37.
Among the actives, Ascendas REIT rose 0.36 percent, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust skidded 0.99 percent, CapitaLand Investment gained 0.54 percent, City Developments tumbled 2.33 percent, Comfort DelGro improved 0.81 percent, DBS Group and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation both collected 0.41 percent, Genting Singapore and SATS both retreated 1.05 percent, Hongkong Land jumped 1.51 percent, Keppel Corp lost 0.69 percent, Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust added 0.60 percent, Mapletree Industrial Trust advanced 0.88 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust climbed 1.27 percent, SembCorp Industries declined 1.16 percent, SingTel and United Overseas Bank both slumped 0.78 percent, Thai Beverage shed 0.74 percent, Wilmar International fell 0.49 percent, Yangzijiang Financial plunged 2.82 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding plummeted 6.25 percent and Emperador, Singapore Technologies Engineering and Keppel DC REIT were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as the major averages shook off early weakness on Wednesday, moved firmly higher midday and ended solidly in the green.
The Dow jumped 133.40 points or 0.40 percent to finish at 33,269.77, while the NASDAQ climbed 71.78 points or 0.69 percent to close at 10,458.76 and the S&P 500 gained 28.83 points or 0.75 percent to end at 3,852.97.
The volatility on the day came as traders awaited and subsequently reacted to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's December monetary policy, which reinforced expectations the central bank is likely to continuing raising interest rates.
The minutes reiterated that officials continue to anticipate that ongoing rate increases would be appropriate - although perhaps slower - to achieve the Fed's dual objectives of maximum employment and price stability.
On the U.S. economic front, the Institute for Supply Management released a report showing U.S. manufacturing activity contracted at a slightly faster rate in the month of December.
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, extending recent losses as worries about energy demand amid rising fears of a global recession continued to weigh on the commodity. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $4.09 or 5.3 percent at $72.84 a barrel.
Closer to home, Singapore will provide November numbers for retail sales later today; in October, sales were up 0.1 percent on month and 10.4 percent on year.
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