Singapore Stock Market May See Additional Support

( - The Singapore stock market has moved higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day losing streak in which it had fallen more than a dozen points or 0.4 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just beneath the 3,045-point plateau and it's tipped to open in the green again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic as the U.S. stock markets shrugged off heavy damage in the morning to rise again on bargain hunting - although weakness from crude oil prices may cap the upside.

The STI finished sharply higher on Thursday following gains from the financial shares, plantation stocks and industrials.

For the day, the index jumped 33.59 points or 1.12 percent to finish at 3,044.74 after trading between 3,041.91 and 3,076.10. Volume was 1 billion shares worth 673.1 million Singapore dollars. There were 256 gainers and 155 decliners.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp and SembCorp Industries both surged 2.45 percent, while Golden Agri-Resources soared 2.17 percent, Hutchison Port Holdings spiked 2.08 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding jumped 1.67 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation climbed 1.64 percent, City Developments and SingTel both advanced 1.38 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 1.21 percent, Genting Singapore gathered 1.04 percent, Wilmar International perked 0.97 percent, Comfort DelGro added 0.94 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust skidded 0.88 percent, Thai Beverage dropped 0.86 percent, DBS Group gained 0.73 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust was up 0.57 percent and CapitaLand was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks shook off heavy weakness on Thursday morning, skyrocketing off their worst levels of the day and into positive territory.

The Dow jumped 260.24 points or 1.14 percent to 23,138.69, while the NASDAQ added 25.14 points or 0.38 percent to 6,579.49 and the S&P 500 gained 21.13 points or 0.86 percent to 2,488.83.

The early weakness came as traders cashed in on Wednesday's surge, which saw the Dow record its biggest single-day gain ever. Lingering concerns about the global economic outlook may also have weighed - although the late-day rally came on further bargain hunting.

In economic news, the Conference Board noted a significant deterioration in consumer confidence in December. Also, the Labor Department saw a slight drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 22.

Crude oil futures declined sharply Thursday - one day after rebounding from 18-month lows. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended down $1.61 or 3.5 percent at $44.61 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will see November figures for producer prices later today; in October, producer prices were up 1.5 percent on month and 12.4 percent on year.

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