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Higher Open Predicted For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market has moved higher in three straight sessions, gathering more than 25 points or 0.8 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,355-point plateau and it's got a green light again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat on continued optimism over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were firmly higher and the Asian markets are expected to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished slightly higher on Friday as gains from the financials and industrials were capped by weakness from the properties and a mixed bag from the plantations.

For the day, the index added 6.89 points or 0.21 percent to finish at 3,357.34 after trading between 3,343.56 and 3,363.59. Volume was 1.07 billion shares worth 1.03 billion Singapore dollars. There were 235 decliners and 181 gainers.

Among the actives, Hutchison Port Holdings plummeted 2.22 percent, while CapitaLand Mall Trust plunged 1.86 percent, Thai Beverage spiked 1.70 percent, Golden Agri-Resources tumbled 1.64 percent, CapitaLand Commercial Trust skidded 1.38 percent, Wilmar International soared 1.08 percent, Keppel Corp jumped 0.76 percent, DBS Group climbed 0.66 percent, Genting Singapore advanced 0.54 percent, SembCorp Industries added 0.42 percent, Comfort DelGro gained 0.36 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 0.34 percent, SingTel rose 0.28 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation was up 0.26 percent, Singapore Exchange perked 0.25 percent and CapitaLand, Singapore Press Holdings, Ascendas REIT and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks opened higher Friday and remained in the green as the major averages extended recent gains and set fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 243.95 points or 0.90 percent to 27,332.03, while the NASDAQ gained 48.10 points or 0.59 percent to 8,244.14 and the S&P 500 rose 13.86 points or 0.46 percent to 3,013.77. For the week, the Dow surged 1.5 percent, the NASDAQ climbed 1 percent and the S&P rose 0.8 percent.

The markets continued to benefit from renewed optimism about the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates as soon as its next meeting later this month following comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

Trading activity was somewhat subdued, however, as traders brace for the unofficial start of earnings season this week.

Crude oil futures ended flat on Friday as traders weighed near term prospects for energy demand and supply. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended at $60.21 a barrel, up just a penny over previous close. or the week, oil futures gained about 4.7 percent.

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