Singapore stocks end lower on CNY Eve; STI down 0.2%

SINGAPORE – Local shares went into the Chinese New Year break on a slightly sour note on Feb 9 after a lacklustre half-day of trading.

Investors keen to start the long weekend left the Straits Times Index (STI) down a modest 4.61 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 3,138.3, with losers outpacing gainers 251 to 212 on trade of 974.7 million shares worth $696.3 million.

Some Asian markets, including those in China and South Korea, were already closed for the holiday, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8 per cent, also after a half-day session, while Australian shares closed flat, and down 0.7 per cent for the week.

The downbeat trading followed a landmark session on Wall Street overnight, when the S&P 500 crossed 5,000 points for the first time, albeit in intra-day trading.

The benchmark later closed just under that milestone but still ahead 0.1 per cent for the day and up 4.8 per cent since Jan 1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained 0.1 per cent – its 11th record close of 2024 – while the tech-focused Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent.

Japan’s stock exchange hit a 34-year high earlier in the day, after its central bank deputy governor ruled out rapid interest rate hikes.

The dovish comments also led to yen weakness, which Saxo’s Asia-Pacific strategy team said was “seemingly an overreaction” to the comments.

“The US dollar-to-Japan yen exchange rate broke past the 148.8 resistance (level) to reach a high of 149.48,” the team added in a note.

Singapore’s STI was topped by CapitaLand Ascendas real estate investment trust, which reversed Feb 8’s losses to end at $2.76, up 2.2 per cent. Wilmar International was the index’s biggest loser, down 4.3 per cent at $3.12.

The banks had a mixed showing: UOB was down 0.3 per cent to $28.14, OCBC slid 0.2 per cent to $12.95, but DBS gained 0.3 per cent to $32.54. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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