THE Straits Times Index (STI) underwent a volatile session on Thursday when it first dropped 17 points to an intraday low of 2,791 before a late afternoon bout of short-covering helped it finish at 2,805.52, a nett loss of only 3.83 points. It was the STI's fourth consecutive loss, during which it has fallen 68 points or 2.4 per cent.
The intraday rebound came when Europe opened marginally in the black, giving rise to hope that Western markets, which had been battered earlier in the week because of weak oil prices and US interest rate concerns, would possibly enjoy a firm Thursday.
Turnover in the 30 STI components was a hefty S$902.3 million, about 73 per cent of the entire market's turnover of 1.1 billion units worth S$1.24 billion. Singtel was the most active index component, its S$0.02 rise to S$3.89 came on volume of 40 million and contributed S$154 million towards turnover.
On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.9 per cent to US$43.58 a barrel in New York. That followed a 3 per cent tumble in the previous session and left prices at their lowest level since Sept 1.
The impact here was a 0.7 per cent fall in the FTSE ST Oil and Gas Index. Stocks from the sector such as Keppel Corp, SembCorp Marine, Ezra and Ezion all ended marginally weaker.
"It's difficult to be positive about the Singapore market," said a fund manager. "There are simply too many stress points - oil and gas is weak and there is no sign of light yet in property."