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Singapore Market May See Renewed Selling Pressure

The Singapore stock market bounced higher again on Friday, one session after it had ended the two-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 60 points or 1.9 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,175-point plateau, although the market may head south again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild consolidation on profit taking, although support from crude oil prices should limit the downside. The European markets were mixed on Friday and the U.S. bourses were slightly lower - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The STI finished barely higher on Friday as gains from the financials and properties were capped by weakness from the plantations and telecoms.

For the day, the index added 1.87 points or 0.06 percent to finish at 3,175.11 after trading between 3,171.49 and 3,181.61. Volume was 2.6 billion shares worth 1.6 billion Singapore dollars. There were 255 decliners and 226 gainers.

Among the actives, Global Logistic Properties climbed 1.09 percent, while Noble Group jumped 1.04 percent, Hongkong Land advanced 0.79 percent, Keppel Corp gained 0.73 percent, Wilmar Limited shed 0.56 percent, Thai Beverage gathered 0.53 percent, DBS Group collected 0.52 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation added 0.10 percent and SingTel fell 0.25 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Friday, eventually finishing in the red.

The Dow shed 65.27 points or 0.3 percent to 20,663.22, while the NASDAQ fell 2.61 points or 0.1 percent to 5,911.74 and the S&P lost 5.34 points or 0.2 percent to 2,362.72. For the week, the Dow rose 0.3 percent, the S&P added 0.8 percent and the NASDAQ rose 1.4 percent.

Buying interest has remained soft as the failure of the Republican healthcare bill has led to uncertainty about President Trump's ability to achieve his policy goals.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said that personal income rose in line with economist estimates in February, although personal spending inched up less than expected.

Also, MNI Indicators said that Chicago-area business activity saw a faster rate of growth in March, while the University of Michigan noted an unexpected downward revision to its consumer sentiment index for March.

Crude oil futures edged higher Friday, despite a quarterly loss. May WTI oil was up 25 cents or 0.5 percent to $50.60/bbl. Prices were down 5.8 percent for the second quarter.

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