AN unanticipated drop on Wall Street on Thursday brought a halt to the Straits Times Index's upward march with the index losing 20.35 points at 2,940.43 on Friday after three consecutive rises. The net result was still positive though with the STI recording a gain of 17 points or 0.6 per cent for the week, albeit in mediocre volume.
On Friday, turnover amounted to an average 1.3 billion units worth S$1 billion and excluding warrants, there were 163 rises versus 221 falls in the broad market.
Oil prices have played a significant role in determining stock market performance this year and so it was again the case this week when equities came under pressure on Monday after news that talks in Doha among major oil producing countries last weekend failed to reach agreement on limiting supplies.
Although oil prices rebounded on Tuesday and Wednesday, a fall on Thursday brought the sellers out on Wall Street.
Here, oil related stocks have been volatile, though the index has been moved mainly by the banks and Singtel.
During the week, Morgan Stanley released a report on local banks, saying slow income growth, limited net interest margin upside and rising capital requirements will limit free capital generation and dividend payments by the banks. It downgraded DBS to "underweight" and said UOB is its least preferred.