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Singapore Bourse May Extend Thursday's Gains

(RTTNews) - The Singapore stock market has moved higher in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day slide in which it had stumbled more than 30 points or 1 percent. The Straits Times Index now rests just above the 3,200-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests modest support on optimism for a trade deal between the U.S. and China. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets are expected to follow the latter lead.

The STI finished slightly higher on Thursday following gains from the plantations and financials and a mixed bag from the properties.

For the day, the index picked up 5.19 points or 0.16 percent to finish at 3,203.58 after trading between 3,192.48 and 3,213.62. Volume was 1.08 billion shares worth 866.62 million Singapore dollars. There were 195 decliners and 173 gainers.

Among the actives, Golden Agri-Resources surged 3.70 percent, while CapitaLand Commercial Trust plummeted 1.52 percent, Thai Beverage tumbled 1.17 percent, CapitaLand spiked 1.14 percent, Genting Singapore soared 0.98 percent, SembCorp Industries advanced 0.79 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation collected 0.46 percent, CapitaLand Mall Trust dropped 0.42 percent, Comfort DelGro shed 0.39 percent, Ascendas REIT lost 0.34 percent, Wilmar International advanced 0.30 percent, United Overseas Bank added 0.24 percent, Keppel Corp dipped 0.16 percent, Singapore Exchange rose 0.14 percent and Hutchison Port Holdings, Singapore Press, SingTel, DBS Group and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding all were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks fluctuated again on Thursday, extending recent volatility before finishing in the green.

The Dow added 91.87 points or 0.36 percent to 25,717.46, while the NASDAQ gained 25.79 points or 0.34 percent to 7,669.17 and the S&P 500 rose 10.07 points or 0.36 percent to 2,815.44.

The higher close on Wall Street came as traders reacted to reports of progress in the ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and China as U.S. representatives arrived in Beijing for a new round of high-level talks with Chinese officials.

Buying interest was subdued however, amidst largely disappointing economic data, including a Commerce Department showing GDP growth slowed more than estimated in the fourth quarter.

Also, the National Association of Realtors noted an unexpected pullback in pending home sales in February, while the Labor Department reported an unexpected drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits last week.

Crude oil futures settled modestly lower Thursday, as an unexpected jump in crude inventories and worries about energy demand weighed on prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $0.11 or 0.2 percent at $59.30 a barrel.

Closer to home, Singapore will provide February figures for producer prices later today; in January, producer prices were down 1.4 percent on month and 1.9 percent on year.
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