RTTNews - The Singapore stock market has finished lower now in back-to-back sessions, surrendering more than 50 points or 2.2 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index eased through support at 2,300 points, and now analysts suggest that the market will continue to hover right around that level at the opening of trade on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets provides little in the way of guidance, especially with no lead from Wall Street as the U.S. bourses were closed on Friday in observance of Independence Day. With the absence of any fresh data, many investors are expected to remain on the sidelines - especially with Q2 earnings season kicking off later this week. The European markets finished slightly lower on Friday, and the Asian markets are expected to track flat to mildly negative.
The STI finished modestly lower on Friday, thanks to losses among the financial stocks and airlines.
For the day, the index shed 21.07 points or 0.91 percent to close at 2,299.75 after trading between 2,284.69 and 2,305.96. Volume was 1.08 billion shares worth 856 million Singapore dollars. There were 144 gainers and 259 decliners, with 849 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the decliners, DBS, United Overseas Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Singapore Airlines and ST Engineering all finished in negative territory.
The lead from the European markets is mildly negative as markets fell in light volume for the second straight day on Friday, as a report showed Eurozone retail sales dropped more than expected in May and mining stocks edged lower after copper prices declined. Eurozone retail sales fell 0.4 percent month-on-month in May following a revised increase of 0.1 percent in April, data released by the Eurostat showed. Economists had expected a drop of just 0.1 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.06 percent lower at 842.52 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.06 percent to 2,077.28 points. Around Europe, Germany's DAX index fell 0.22 percent to 4,708.21, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.05 percent to 4,236.28 and France's CAC 40 index surged up 0.10 percent to 3,119.51.
Metro, Germany's biggest retailer, slipped 2.5 percent, as European retail sales dropped more than economists estimated. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, fell 1.4 percent, while Anglo American, the second biggest, declined 1.2 percent and Rio Tinto, the third biggest, slipped 2.2 percent. EDF, Europe's biggest power producer, dropped 4.5 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight.
On the other hand, banking stocks were among the top gainers. HSBC, Europe's largest bank, rose 1.7 percent, while Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second largest bank, climbed 2.3 percent and Barclays, Britain's third largest bank, surged up 2.7 percent. BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, gained 2 percent and Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, added 1.7 percent.
In economic news, Malaysia's Department of Statistics said on Friday that the trade surplus stood at MYR 10.02 billion in May, up from MYR 7.36 billion surplus in April. Moreover, this came in higher than economists' expectations of a MYR 8.88 billion surplus.
Exports dropped 29.7 percent annually in May to MYR42.95 billion, after falling 26.3 percent in April. Economists expected a drop of 29.2 percent. Imports slipped 27.8 percent to MYR32.93 billion compared to a 24.6 percent decline in the preceding month. Economists expected imports to drop 24.3 percent.
On a monthly basis, exports grew 4.5 percent, while imports fell 2.3 percent in May. Meanwhile, in the first five months of the year, exports decreased 23.5 percent, while imports were down 27.4 percent compared to last year.
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