Singapore stocks end higher as traders shrug off inflation worries; STI up 0.4%

3 weeks ago 57

Updated

May 23, 2024, 07:35 PM

Published

May 23, 2024, 07:08 PM

SINGAPORE – Local traders ignored unease over the inflation concerns raised by the United States Federal Reserve to nudge the market higher on May 23.

Their optimism stemmed in part from a Singapore Government announcement that it was standing by its full-year growth forecast of 1 to 3 per cent for 2024. This came as first-quarter gross domestic product came in at 2.7 per cent, unchanged from April’s estimate.

That prompted investors to push the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.4 per cent, or 14.72 points, to 3,322.62 with gainers beating decliners 312 to 286 on trade of 1.4 billion securities worth $1.3 billion.

Regional markets were mixed. The Nikkei 225 added 1.3 per cent and Malaysian shares gained 0.4 per cent, but the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.7 per cent, the Kospi in Seoul slipped 0.1 per cent and the ASX 200 fell 0.5 per cent.

Wall Street gave an uncertain lead overnight with stocks falling on fears that the Fed’s concerns about persisting inflation have cast more doubt on impending interest rate cuts.

The S&P 500 slid 0.3 per cent and Nasdaq dipped 0.2 per cent – both from record highs – while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5 per cent.

UOB senior economist Alvin Liew said the US Fed “continued to drill home the message” that rates may stay elevated for longer until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably towards the 2 per cent mark.

He added that UOB still expects two interest rate cuts in 2024, but acknowledged that the risk “continues to be tilted towards the Fed delaying even further”.

Jardine Matheson Holdings was the top...

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