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Singapore: Stocks weaken ahead of expected Wall St fall

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THERE were no surprises in Monday's session at Singapore Exchange, the Straits Times Index first rising 18 points to an intraday high of 3,430 in response to Friday's bounce on Wall Street but eventually ending with a nett loss of 2.31 points at 3,410.13 in line with a reversal in Hong Kong and a weak opening for Europe that indicated a likely soft Monday for the US market.

Turnover was a modest 950 million units worth S$957.6 million and excluding warrants there were 218 rises against 186 falls.

Brokers said the passing of Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew had little, if no impact on the market.

"It is unlikely to react to the news," said a dealer. "The market has had plenty of time to prepare for his passing and right now, it has more pressing worries like rising US interest rates and low liquidity."

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Gains in the three banks were largely responsible for keeping the index in the black for most of the day; there was also a notable contribution from the day's most active stock, commodity trading firm Noble Group. The counter was in focus after Iceberg Research, an unknown research firm that has attacked Noble's accounting in two reports over the past month, released its third attack on the company over the weekend, this time criticising Noble's debt. Thanks to a detailed rebuttal, Noble's shares rose S$0.035 to S$0.91 on Monday with 68 million traded.

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