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Singapore Stock Market May Extend Wednesday's Gains

The Singapore stock market on Wednesday ended the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 20 points or 0.7 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,175-point plateau and it may inch higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests slim gains, thanks mainly to a spike in crude oil prices. The European and U.S. markets were mostly higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.

The STI finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the industrials, properties and financials.

For the day, the index jumped 37.23 points or 1.19 percent to finish at 3,176.57 after trading between 3,139.49 and 3,181.50. Volume was 1.30 billion shares worth 988.4 million Singapore dollars.

Among the actives, SembCorp Industries surged 4.14 percent, while CapitaLand soared 3.06 percent, Golden Agri-Resources spiked 2.08 percent, Hutchison Port Holdings tumbled 2.08 percent, Ascendas REIT jumped 1.95 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding climbed 1.80 percent, SingTel perked 1.61 percent, DBS Group gathered 1.21 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust advanced 0.94 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.72 percent, United Overseas Banking added 0.19 percent and Comfort DelGro, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, Thai Beverage, Hongkong Land Holdings, Genting Singapore and Wilmar International all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks were lackluster on Wednesday, although the Dow climbed to its best closing level in nearly eight months. The broader NASDAQ and S&P 500 ended the day roughly flat.

The Dow added 158.80 points or 0.61 percent to finish at 26,405.76, while the NASDAQ fell 6.07 points or 0.08 percent to 7,950.04 and the S&P gained 3.64 points or 0.13 percent to 2,907.95.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came amid lingering concerns about the trade dispute between the U.S. and China as uncertainty about its impact on the global economy may weigh.

Traders may also be looking ahead to next week's Federal Reserve meeting. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point, and the accompanying statement may provide clues about future rate hikes.

In economic news, the Commerce Department noted a sharp increase in new residential construction in August, although there was also a steep drop in building permits.

Crude oil prices rose to a two-month high on Wednesday following a drop in domestic crude supplies. Crude oil futures for October delivery ended up $1.27 or 1.8 percent at $71.12 a barrel, the highest settlement since July 10.

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