RTTNews - The Singapore stock market saw its three-day winning streak ended - albeit barely - on Monday after it had collected 90 points or 4 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index remains close to resistance at the 2,320-point plateau, and now investors are looking for the market to turn right back to the upside in Tuesday's trade.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is fairly positive, with strength expected from the financial and oil sectors in particular - although turnout may be light ahead of some key economic data out of the United States later in this holiday-shortened trading week. The European markets finished sharply higher, while the U.S. bourses also ended firmly in the green - and the Asian markets are tipped also to move solidly higher.
The STI finished barely lower on Monday, as weakness among the telecoms and properties was largely offset by gains in the financial sector.
For the day, the index eased 0.78 points or 0.03 percent to close at 2,317.17 after trading between 2,304.40 and 2,328.09. Volume was 1.06 billion shares worth 848 million Singapore dollars. There were 284 decliners and 161 gainers, with 896 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Singapore Telecommunications slid 1.3 percent and CapitaLand fell 0.53 percent, while DBS Group Holdings was up 1.4 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp added 0.15 percent and United Overseas Bank gained 0.4 percent.
Wall Street offers a positive lead as stocks were able to move firmly into positive territory in mid-morning trade on Monday, hovering near their highs for most of remainder of the session after a choppy start. The major averages kicked off the week on a strong note, finishing up by notable margins amid a low volume trading session.
The light volume came as some traders remained on the sidelines ahead of the release of key economic figures later in the week. Traders are looking ahead to data on home prices, consumer confidence, manufacturing and employment.
Amid a light day on the economic front, the sentencing of Bernard Madoff for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme drew some attention, with Madoff receiving the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison. Despite arguments from his defense and words from the former financier himself that he was truly sorry, Judge Denny Chin ensured that Madoff would spend the rest of his life in jail.
On the corporate front, Apple (AAPL) confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs is back at work on a part-time basis, returning after a nearly six-month medical leave during which he underwent a liver transplant. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman (NOC) saw some strength after it received a contract along with Cobham for the supply of an upgraded vehicle intercom system from the U.S. Army. The contract is valued at up to $2.4 billion.
The major indices all closed higher, with the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing near their best levels of the day. The Dow closed up 90.99 points or 1.1 percent at 8,529.38, the NASDAQ closed up 5.84 points or 0.3 percent at 1,844.06, and the S&P rose 8.33 points or 0.9 percent to 927.23.
In economic news, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and De Nederlandsche Bank on Monday signed in a Memorandum of Understanding for an arrangement to increase liquidity provision to banks in non-routine situations.
Under the immediately effective arrangement, Dutch banks operating in Singapore or Singapore banks operating in the Netherlands are allowed to approach the MAS or DNB for liquidity assistance when necessary.
According to the joint statement, the advantage of this arrangement is that the liquidity providing central bank can quickly access an alternative and reliable source of collateral in addition to those under routine liquidity arrangements.
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