The Singapore stock market has finished higher now in three straight sessions, jumping more than 70 points or 2.5 percent en route to a fresh one-month closing high. The Straits Times Index finished just above the 2,840-point plateau, and now traders are looking for continued support when the market kicks off trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly positive ahead of the second and final day of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting. Traders are optimistic that the Fed will announce further measures to stimulate the sluggish economy as a recent batch of disappointing U.S. economic data has exacerbated concerns about the impact of the ongoing financial crisis in Europe. The European and U.S. markets were higher on Tuesday, and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The STI finished modestly higher on Tuesday following gains from the property stocks and industrials.
For the day, the index jumped 18.19 points or 0.64 percent to finish at 2,842.41 after trading between 2,828.31 and 2,845.09 on volume of 1.14 billion shares. There were 214 gainers and 114 decliners.
Among the gainers, Olam International jumped 4.3 percent, while Wilmar International climbed 1.7 percent, Noble Group collected 0.9 percent, SembCorp Marine gathered 1.3 percent, Keppel Corp. spiked 1.4 percent, CapitaLand added 0.4 percent and City Developments surged 1.1 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks moved sharply higher on Tuesday as traders expressed continued optimism about the likelihood of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. The strong gains extended the upward move seen over the past two weeks.
A recent batch of disappointing U.S. economic data has contributed to the optimism about further stimulus, along with continued concerns about the impact of the ongoing financial crisis in Europe. In recent Congressional testimony, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank remains prepared to take action if financial stresses escalate but made no explicit reference to further easing measures.
Many analysts expect the Fed to announce an extension of "Operation Twist," which involves replacing short-term securities in the Fed's bond portfolio with longer-term securities in an effort to push already low long-term interest rates even lower.
Before the start of trading, the Commerce Department reported that housing starts fell 4.8 percent to an annual rate of 708,000 in May from the revised April estimate of 744,000. Economists had expected housing starts to edge up to 720,000 from the 717,000 originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, jumped 7.9 percent to an annual rate of 780,000 in May from the revised April rate of 723,000. Building permits had been expected to climb to 736,000.
In corporate news, shares of Oracle (ORCL) rose 3.1 percent after the business software giant released Q4 results ahead of schedule, reporting adjusted earnings and revenues that exceeded estimates. Oracle also said its board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $10 billion worth of common stock under its existing share repurchase program.
The major averages gave back some ground later in the day but still closed firmly in positive territory. The Dow climbed 95.51 points or 0.8 percent to finish at 12,837.33, while the NASDAQ jumped 34.43 points or 1.2 percent to end at 2,929.76 and the S&P 500 gathered 13.20 points or 1 percent to 1,357.98. The gains lifted the major averages to their best closing levels in over a month, although they remain well off their spring highs.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com