Singapore shares closed 1.20 percent lower on Monday, following plunge in U.S. stocks last Friday.
The week ahead has plenty of event risk with a raft of global business surveys and jobs data from the U.S. to offer a clearer view on how well the global economy is faring, while the European Central Bank might well ease at its meeting this Thursday. Data last week showed Euro-zone inflation data was weak and defying expectations, which raised some fears over the possibility of a more prolonged economic malaise in Europe.
On top of that, another downbeat report from China last week showed that the official Purchasing Managers' Index dipped to 50.5 in January from December's 51, in line with market expectations. But analysts cautioned that the ongoing Lunar New Year holiday, which began on January 31, probably dragged on output as manufacturers shut up shop for China's biggest annual holiday.
The benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 36.27 points to close at 2,990.95 points. Trading volume was 1.52 billion shares worth only 948 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 274 to 138, while 531 stocks closed unchanged.
DBS Group Research said "for the Straits Times Index, we do not see much downside in the near term," adding that "any downside below 3,050 points in the near-term is likely temporary and we expect it to hold around the 3,000 points level."
Phillip Securities Research said investors should wait for a clearer signal before going long. The immediate supports will be at 3,000 points, and 2,930 points.
Swiber Holdings rose 0.8 percent to 64 Singapore cents. It has clinched five contracts that totaled 235 million U.S. dollars. Three of these contract wins, which amounted to approximately 145 million U.S. dollars, were awarded to the Group for works that will be executed in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The remaining two contract wins, which aggregated to approximately 90 million U.S. dollars, were awarded to Swiber's associate company and joint-venture company that are for services that will be executed in Southeast Asia.
SembCorp Industries inched down 1 percent to 5.20 Singapore dollars. It announced that through a wholly-owned subsidiary, it has signed a conditional agreement to acquire 45 percent of NCC Power Projects, which is currently building a 1,320-megawatt coal- fired power plant along the coast of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, India. This project will double SembCorp's power generation capacity in India and increase its footprint in the country's growing power market.
Among the top gainers, DBS rose 0.4 percent to 16.54 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 2.3 percent to 52.35 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.28 Singapore dollars)