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Rally May Stall For Singapore Stock Market

The Singapore stock market has moved higher in back-to-back sessions, collecting almost 25 points or 0.8 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index now sits right on the 3,000-point plateau although it may run out of steam on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower, with stimulus optimism tempered by concern over the outlook for interest rates. The European markets were up and the U.S. bourses were down and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the financials and properties were capped by weakness from the industrials.

For the day, the index gathered 22.49 points or 0.76 percent to finish at 3,000.00 after trading between 2,979.38 and 3,001.34. Volume was 2.52 billion shares worth 1.27 billion Singapore dollars. There were 276 gainers and 203 decliners.

Among the actives, City Developments surged 3.71 percent, while Singapore Press Holdings soared 2.50 percent, Wilmar International spiked 2.38 percent, Dairy Farm International accelerated 2.02 percent, Mapletree Commercial Trust rallied 1.86 percent, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding plummeted 1.83 percent, Hongkong Land jumped 1.54 percent, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust climbed 1.35 percent, Thai Beverage tanked 1.30 percent, SingTel gathered 1.21 percent, SembCorp Industries tumbled 1.08 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation perked 1.04 percent, Mapletree Logistics Trust and Ascendas REIT both advanced 1.00 percent, DBS Group added 0.86 percent, United Overseas Bank collected 0.76 percent, Keppel Corp and Singapore Exchange both sank 0.70 percent, CapitaLand gained 0.58 percent, Genting Singapore rose 0.57 percent, SATS fell 0.50 percent and Singapore Technologies Engineering, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, Singapore Airlines and Comfort DelGro were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as stocks opened higher on Thursday but faded as the day progressed and ended slightly in the red.

The Dow shed 68.95 points or 0.22 percent to finish at 30,991.52, while the NASDAQ dipped 16.31 points or 0.12 percent to end at 13,112.64 and the S&P 500 fell 14.30 points or 0.38 percent to close at 3,795.54.

Optimism about additional fiscal stimulus helped generate early buying interest as President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil a major coronavirus relief package with a price tag in the ballpark of $2 trillion.

Trades were also reacting to a Labor Department report showing initial jobless claims jumped to their highest level in over four months last week. Traders have viewed disappointing data as a positive for the markets as it could put further pressure on lawmakers to approve more stimulus.

The pullback by stocks seemed to coincide with an advance by treasury yields, which rebounded following remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell - who suggested that the economy could return to pre-pandemic levels sooner than feared due to unprecedented fiscal stimulus and the Fed's aggressive intervention.

But he reiterated that the Fed does not intend to raise interest rate anytime soon and downplayed talk of the central bank tapering its bond purchases in the near future.

Crude oil prices bounced higher Thursday on hopes that big stimulus from the Biden administration and the Covid-19 vaccination drive will lift energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended up by $0.66 or 1.3 percent at $53.57 a barrel.

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