Singapore stocks end flat as traders remain cautious amid hopes of interest rate cuts

SINGAPORE – Stock markets on Dec 26 were a mixed bag of results, as hopes of interest rate cuts – on the back of subdued inflation data in the United States – sparked optimism, but investors chose to tread carefully.

In Singapore, traders were more cautious despite news of the state’s headline and core inflation figures easing in November.

The local benchmark Straits Times Index ended the day largely flat – with a decline of 0.01 per cent or 0.34 point to 3,139.98. Advancers narrowly beat decliners 194 to 184, after 538.4 million securities worth a collective $355.9 million changed hands.

Across the region, stock markets that were open for trading posted a mixed set of results for the day. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 per cent, and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 per cent. On the other hand, Malaysia’s FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI fell 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai SSE Composite Index fell 0.7 per cent.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes noted that while markets are more optimistic, any “hefty interest rate movement” this week is unlikely.

“While more downward adjustments are conceivable in the coming year, other not-so-favourable factors would likely need to influence them,” he said, adding that it would take a fear of a “hard landing” for the Federal Reserve to consider a rate cut of over 150 basis points.

On the Singapore bourse, Nio was the top advancer for the day, gaining 5.36 per cent or US$0.43 to US$8.46 (S$11.20).

The trio of lenders ended the day mixed. UOB was the only local bank to book a gain – adding 0.2 per cent to $27.65. DBS Bank fell 0.3 per cent to $31.90, while OCBC Bank lost 0.1 per cent to $12.65.

Jardine Matheson Holdings was among the biggest losers for the day, shedding 0.3 per cent to US$39.55.

Seatrium, Chasen Holdings and Rex International were among the most heavily traded stocks for the day. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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