SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore stocks eased on Friday after torrid gains during the previous trading session, despite strong advances in key global indices.
The S&P500 pushed 1.95 per cent higher overnight to 3,510.45, as each morsel of information about the close-run US elections continued to be analysed in real time. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates near zero and made no change to its asset purchases.
Market sentiment was broadly positive in Asia too. Japan's Nikkei 225 index ended Thursday 0.91 per cent higher at 24,325.23, its highest level since 1991.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and Korea's Kospi also ended the trading session with gains of 0.07 per cent and 0.11 per cent respectively.
Benchmark indices for the neighbouring markets of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were up by bigger margins of 1.43 per cent, 1.21 per cent and 0.48 per cent respectively.
Against this backdrop, the Straits Times Index's decline of 9.94 points or 0.38 per cent to 2,578.68 seemed rather disappointing.
Sentiment across the broader market was soft too, with advancers lagging decliners 185 to 226.
The biggest gainers within the STI were the relatively illiquid Jardine Cycle & Carriage and Dairy Farm International, which ended Friday 4.33 per cent and 4.08 per cent higher respectively.
Genting Singapore was in a distant third place, with a gain of just 0.74 per cent.
Despite falling back on Friday, the STI is still up 154.84 points or 6.39 per cent for the week.
Mapletree Industrial Trust, which was the biggest decliner within the STI on Friday, slipping 2.74 per cent lower, is actually still more than 4.9 per cent higher than a week ago.
Similarly, Singtel declined 1.83 per cent Friday, making it the second worst performer within the STI; but it is still more than 5.9 per cent higher than last Friday.
The three local banks, which account for more than one-third of the STI, also had a good week.
DBS was up more than 10.5 per cent versus last Friday, while OCBC and UOB were up nearly 6.1 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively.