Steady Start Seen For Singapore Stocks Market

The Singapore stock market has tracked higher in consecutive trading days, advancing more than 20 points or 0.6 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,350-point plateau and it may see continued if mild upside again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with any upside limited by sliding crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The STI finished modestly higher on Thursday following gains from the financials and industrials, while the property sector came in mixed.

For the day, the index collected 10.03 points or 0.30 percent to finish at 3,350.45 after trading between 3,349.63 and 3,372.49. Volume was 1.42 billion shares worth 1.22 billion Singapore dollars. There were 237 gainers and 191 decliners.

Among the actives, Hutchison Port Holdings surged 2.27 percent, while Golden Agri-Resources soared 1.67 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust spiked 1.51 percent, Keppel Corp jumped 1.38 percent, Singapore Press Holdings skidded 1.19 percent, Genting Singapore climbed 1.10 percent, SingTel advanced 0.86 percent, SembCorp Industries added 0.84 percent, DBS Group collected 0.83 percent, Comfort DelGro dropped 0.71 percent, Singapore Exchange gained 0.50 percent, Singapore Technologies Engineering rose 0.47 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust sank 0.46 percent, Singapore Airlines slid 0.32 percent, United Overseas Bank and City Developments both were up 0.11 percent and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Wilmar International, Ascendas REIT, Thai Beverage, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and CapitaLand all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks fluctuated Thursday before ending mixed, with the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The Dow added 227.88 points or 0.85 percent to 27,088.08, while the NASDAQ fell 6.49 points or 0.08 percent to 8,196.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.23 percent to 2,999.91.

The advance by the Dow was fueled by health insurers on news that President Donald Trump is abandoning a plan to eliminate rebates from government drug plans. The proposal faced stiff resistance from pharmacy-benefit managers, and pharmaceutical stocks tumbled on the news

In economic news, the Labor Department reported an unexpected uptick in U.S. consumer prices in June. The Labor Department also said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell in the week ended July 6.

Crude oil futures turned weak after a solid start on Thursday, weighed down by a downward revision in demand forecast by OPEC. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended down $0.23 or 0.4 percent at $60.20 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide May data for retail sales later today; in April, sales rose 0.4 percent on month and fell 1.7 percent on year.

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