Singapore shares end flat amid mixed regional showing, following Wall St losses


SINGAPORE – The local market was as flat as the Death Valley highway on Jan 18 as traders searched high and low for some buying inspiration.

It was not much better across the region, with mixed results in the wake of red ink on Wall Street overnight as investors there remain wary over the direction of United States interest rates.

The uncertainty sent the Straits Times Index (STI) inching down 2.44 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,139.78. Losers pipped gainers 261 to 254 across the broader market on a reasonable level of trade given the mood – 1.1 billion shares worth $1 billion.

The showing elsewhere in Asia was hot and cold with the Jakarta Composite 0.6 per cent higher, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.4 per cent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.57 per cent and Seoul’s Kospi put on a modest 0.17 per cent.

The losers included the Nikkei in Tokyo, down 0.03 per cent, and the ASX in Sydney, off 0.6 per cent to a new five-week low and its fifth consecutive negative session.

Wall Street extended the sell-off overnight with all three key indexes heading south. The culprit? Better-than-expected data pointed towards the Federal Reserve’s less-than-eager inclination to cut rates.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said the Fed appears to be setting a higher bar for rate cuts than the market initially anticipated.

The standout on the local bourse was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which added 1.3 per cent to $1.60, a day after the China-based firm reported bagging an order to build six container ships but without stating the deal value. The counter was one of the five index stocks with the highest net institutional inflow over the past 12 sessions, based on Singapore Exchange data.

Yangzijiang Financial, the investment management company spun off from Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, closed 1.5 per cent lower at 32 cents despite a raft of share repurchases in the past week. THE BUSINESS TIMES



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