Ahead of the long weekend for the Lunar New Year, the Singapore stock market had alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than a dozen points or 0.4 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,290-point plateau and it's expected to return to the upside on Wednesday as it catches up on misses sentiment.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with profit taking likely after recent gains - especially among the oil and technology companies. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.
The STI finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares, property stocks and industrial issues.
For the day, the index gained 17.53 points or 0.54 percent to finish at 3,293.71 after trading between 3,263.99 and 3,305.25.
Among the actives, Ascendas REIT gathered 0.36 percent, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust advanced 0.97 percent, CapitaLand Investment strengthened 1.30 percent, City Developments shed 0.37 percent, Comfort DelGro spiked 1.75 percent, DBS Group was up 0.06 percent, Emperador surged 2.00 percent, Genting Singapore accelerated 1.54 percent, Hongkong Land climbed 1.05 percent, Keppel Corp rose 0.41 percent, Mapletree Industrial Trust increased 0.,43 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust soared 1.86 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation gained 0.56 percent, SembCorp Industries rallied 1.48 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering perked 0.29 percent, Thai Beverage added 0.71 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 0.65 percent, Wilmar International fell 0.25 percent, Yangzijiang Financial jumped 1.39 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding improved 0.82 percent and Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust, SATS and SingTel were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as the major averages opened lower on Tuesday, rebounded somewhat and ended the day mixed and little changed.
The Dow gained 104.40 points or 0.31 percent to finish at 33,733.96, while the NASDAQ sank 30.14 points or 0.27 percent to end at 11,334.27 and the S&P 500 eased 2.86 points or 0.07 percent to close at 4,016.95.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent volatility.
Uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates and the economy may also have kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of some key economic data in the coming days.
A negative reaction to some of the latest earnings news contributed to an early pullback, with 3M (MMM) posting a steep loss after reporting weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings and providing disappointing guidance.
Crude oil prices fell sharply Tuesday on concerns about the outlook for demand due to a potential recession in Europe and the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for March ended lower by $1.49 or 1.8 percent at $80.13 a barrel.
Closer to home, Singapore will provide December numbers for consumer prices later today, with forecasts suggesting an annual increase of 6.6 percent for overall inflation and 5.00 percent for core CPI. That's down from 6.7 percent and 5.10 percent, respectively, in November.