(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day losing streak in which it had fallen almost 30 points or 0.9 percent. The Straits Times Index settled just above the 3,405-point plateau, although now the market may turn higher again on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is firm, thanks mainly to a rebound in the price of crude oil – although traders may be reluctant to take heavy positions ahead of the U.S. employment data that comes out later today. The European markets were mixed but little changed, and the U.S. bourses were sharply higher – and the Asian markets are also tipped to open in the green.

The STI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, industrial issues and plantations, plus a mixed bag from the property sector.

For the day, the index shed 10.99 points or 0.32 percent to finish at 3,406.58 after trading between 3,394.95 and 3,415.14. Volume was 1.01 billion shares worth 1.11 billion Singapore dollars.

Among the actives, Keppel Corp shed 0.89 percent, while City Developments dropped 1.17 percent, CapitaMall Trust jumped 1.40 percent, DBS Group lost 0.92 percent, Oversea-Chinese banking Corporation gave away 0.85 percent, Wilmar International fell 0.62 percent, Noble Group retreated 1.36 percent and SembCorp tumbled 2.52 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is broadly positive as stocks moved sharply higher on Thursday. The Dow closed higher for the fourth consecutive session, reaching its best closing level in almost a month.

The Dow jumped 211.86 points or 1.2 percent to 17,884.88, while the NASDAQ climbed 48.39 points or 1 percent to 4,765.10 and the S&P 500 advanced 21.01 points or 1 percent to 2,062.52.

A rebound by the price of crude oil contributed to the strength, with crude regaining ground following the sharp pullback on Wednesday. Crude for March delivery jumped $ 2.03 to $ 50.48 a barrel after plunging $ 4.60 to $ 48.45 a barrel in the previous session.

Positive sentiment also followed report from the Labor Department showing a smaller than expected rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 31. The data comes ahead of the more closely watched monthly jobs report before the start of trading on Friday.

Meanwhile, traders largely shrugged off separate reports on fourth quarter productivity and the December trade deficit as old news.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com