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Homecompanies marketsSingapore stocks buck regional decline amid cautious sentiment, STI up 0.1%

Singapore stocks buck regional decline amid cautious sentiment, STI up 0.1%

SINGAPORE – Local shares inched north on Wednesday, despite regional markets following Wall Street south into the red.

The more buoyant mood here left the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.1 per cent or 4.47 points at 3,218.93, although losers beat gainers 308 to 246 after 1.3 billion shares worth $782.7 million changed hands.

The local bourse’s advance defied Wall Street’s negative tone overnight, when tech stocks dragged the S&P 500 down 0.6 per cent, while the Nasdaq slipped 1 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.1 per cent.

Major regional markets followed suit.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 per cent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Kospi in South Korea both fell 0.1 per cent, and Australia’s ASX 200 dropped 0.7 per cent.

SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said that global sentiment may have taken a hit as oil prices rose, which could exacerbate inflation in countries such as the United States.

Prices rose 2 per cent to a near 10-month high on Tuesday as supplies are expected to remain tight, with big producers continuing to forecast strong growth in global demand.

While Mr Innes does not expect the price surge to influence the US Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates this month, crude remaining at more than US$90 a barrel would justify a further interest rate hike in either November or December.

“Persistently elevated energy prices have the potential to trigger a substantial uptick in headline inflation, which may compel the (Fed) to adopt a more assertive approach than what investors are prepared for,” he said.

“This scenario underscores the delicate balance between energy costs, inflationary pressures, and the central bank’s monetary policy actions.”

The STI’s top performer was lender UOB, which rose 1.2 per cent to $28.63, while DBS Bank added 0.8 per cent to $33.54 and OCBC Bank climbed 0.5 per cent to end at $12.58.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding came in at the bottom of the table, shedding 1.7 per cent to $1.69. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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