(RTTNews) – The Singapore stock market on Wednesday wrote a finish to the three-day slide in which it had stumbled almost 75 points or 2.5 percent. The Straits Times Index now sits just beneath the 2,960-point plateau although it’s expected to head south again on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is soft due to coronavirus relief package concerns and heavy speculative trading. The European and U.S. markets were solidly lower and the Asian bourses figure to follow that lead.
The STI finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the financial shares and property stocks, while the industrials were mixed.
For the day, the index gained 13.11 points or 0.45 percent to finish at 2,958.63 after trading between 2,948.71 and 2,967.78. Volume was 3.39 billion shares worth 1.27 billion Singapore dollars. There were 282 gainers and 206 decliners.
Among the actives, Jardine Strategic Holdings plummeted 3.21 percent, while Venture Corporation surged 2.26 percent, Ascendas REIT soared 1.94 percent, Hongkong Land spiked 1.74 percent, Singapore Press Holdings accelerated 1.68 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation rallied 1.54 percent, Keppel Corp jumped 1.45 percent, United Oversea Bank climbed 1.33 percent, SATS gathered 1.29 percent, Thai Beverage and SingTel both tanked 1.23 percent, Singapore Airlines perked 1.22 percent, Genting Singapore advanced 1.16 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering added 1.07 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust dropped 0.94 percent, CapitaLand and CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust both gained 0.93 percent, Comfort DelGro rose 0.62 percent, SembCorp Industries lost 0.58 percent, DBS Group collected 0.43 percent, City Developments increased 0.27 percent, Singapore Exchange was up 0.20 percent, Wilmar International dipped 0.18 percent and Dairy Farm International, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Mapletree Logistics Trust and CapitaLand Commercial Trust were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as stocks opened sharply lower on Wednesday and the losses accelerated going into the close.
The Dow plunged 633 points or 2.05 percent to finish at 30,303.17, while the NASDAQ tumbled 355.47 points or 2.61 percent to end at 13,270.60 and the S&P 500 dropped 98.85 points or 2.57 percent to close at 3,750.77.
The sell-off on Wall Street came as traders worried about recent speculative trading by retail investors amid continued spikes by heavily shorted stocks like GameStop (GME) and AMC Entertainment (AMC) – which skyrocketed on the day, leading to concerns hedge funds may need to sell other securities to offset their mounting losses.
Stocks sank further following the Federal Reserve’s first monetary policy announcement of the year. The Fed left interest rates unchanged as expected and will maintain its asset purchase program at the current pace. But traders were disappointed the central bank did not provide clarity about the outlook for its bond purchases.
In earnings news, shares of aerospace leader Boeing (BA) and coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX) tumbled after disappointing reports, while shares of Microsoft (MSFT) ticked higher after beating the street.
In economic news, the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured durable goods rose by much less than expected in December.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday after data showed a substantial drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week, although the upside was limited by ongoing demand concerns caused by the coronavirus. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $0.24 or 0.5 percent at $52.85 a barrel.
Closer to home, Singapore will release preliminary Q4 numbers for unemployment later today; in Q3, the jobless rate was 3.6 percent.