(RTTNews) – Ahead of the long weekend break for New Year’s day, the Singapore stock market had snapped the modest two-day winning streak in which it had gained almost 30 points or 1 percent. The Straits Times Index now sits just above the 2,840-point plateau and it’s expected to remain in that neighborhood again on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed thanks to ongoing coronavirus concerns and apprehension about the U.S. political scene as Republicans continue to try to overturn results of the presidential election. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The STI finished modestly lower in Thursday’s holiday-shortened session following losses from the financial shares, property stocks and technology companies.
For the day, the index dropped 25.41 points or 0.89 percent to finish at the daily low of 2,843.81 after peaking at 2,861.61. Volume was 665.63 million shares worth 548.44 million Singapore dollars. There were 221 gainers and 182 decliners.
Among the actives, Venture Corporation plummeted 2.12 percent, while Wilmar International plunged 1.69 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation tanked 1.47 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering tumbled 1.29 percent, Keppel Corp skidded 1.28 percent, Singapore Airlines retreated 1.15 percent, City Developments declined 1.12 percent, Ascendas REIT and SATS both surrendered 1.00 percent, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust sank 0.92 percent, DBS Group dropped 0.75 percent, United Overseas Bank shed 0.70 percent, Thai Beverage lost 0.68 percent, Singapore Exchange fell 0.64 percent, SembCorp Industries added 0.59 percent, Genting Singapore slid 0.58 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding gained 0.53 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust dipped 0.47 percent, SingTel was down 0.43 percent, Dairy Farm International eased 0.24 percent and Mapletree Logistics Trust, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, Singapore Press Holdings, Comfort DelGro and CapitaLand all were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday before finally moving higher to end in the green.
The Dow climbed 196.88 points or 0.65 percent to finish at 30,606.48, while the NASDAQ rose 18.28 points or 0.14 percent to end at 12,888.28 and the S&P 500 gained 24.03 points or 0.64 percent to close at 3,756.07.
The gains capped off a strong year for U.S. stocks, which moved sharply higher in 2020 despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For the year, the Dow jumped 7.3 percent, the S&P 500 surged 16.3 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ skyrocketed 43.6 percent – benefitting from the stay-at-home orders issued in response to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 26.
Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Thursday despite concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February rose $0.12 or 0.3 percent at $48.52 a barrel. WTI Crude oil futures lost 21 percent in 2020, while Brent crude futures tumbled more than 22 percent.
Closer to home, Singapore will release an advance estimate for Q4 GDP later this morning. In the three months prior, GDP was up 9.2 percent on quarter and down 5.8 percent on year.