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Singapore Market May Find Renewed Selling Pressure

The Singapore stock market has moved higher in two of three trading days since the end of the five-day losing streak in which it had tumbled more than 120 points or 3.5 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,480-point plateau although it may open under pressure on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is negative after U.S. Donald Trump officially imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - while tumbling crude oil prices add to the soft sentiment. The European and U.S. markets were up, but the Asian markets are expected to head lower.

The STI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials, industrials and properties.

For the day, the index picked up 29.75 points or 0.86 percent to finish at 3,480.44 after trading between 3,461.90 and 3,483.79. Volume was 2 billion shares worth 1.1 billion Singapore dollars. There were 279 gainers to 138 decliners.

Among the actives, Comfort DelGro surged 3.00 percent, while Keppel Corp soared 2.36 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust spiked 2.35 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust jumped 1.51 percent, Hutchison Port Holdings tumbled 1.43 percent, United Overseas Bank advanced 1.27 percent, SembCorp Industries climbed 0.98 percent, Genting Singapore perked 0.89 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.76 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding added 0.75 percent, SingTel gained 0.60 percent, DBS Group was up 0.50 percent, Wilmar International gathered 0.31 percent and Golden Agri-Resources and Thai Beverage were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks fluctuated on Thursday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing in positive territory.

The Dow added 93.85 points or 0.38 percent to 24,895.21, while the NASDAQ gained 31.30 points or 0.42 percent and the S&P 500 was up 12.17 points or 0.45 percent to 2,738.97.

The higher close came after Trump officially signed proclamations imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The choppy trading also came as traders looked ahead to the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report later today - which may have a bearing on the FOMC's interest rate forecast.

Ahead of the monthly report, the Labor Department reported a bigger than expected rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 3.

Traders also digested the European Central Bank's latest monetary policy decision, with the ECB leaving rates unchanged, as expected. The ECB's accompanying statement removed a phrase indicating a willingness to increase its asset purchase program if necessary.

Crude oil futures tumbled Thursday on fears that the U.S. dollar will strengthen on rising interest rates. April WTI oil was down $1.03 or 1.7 percent to settle at $60.12/bbl, the lowest in three weeks.

by RTT Staff Writer

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