(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, although it has gained just 5 points or 0.2 percent in that span. The Straits Times Index finished just above the 3,440-point plateau, and now the market is looking at another fairly flat lead on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests little movement amid a lack of catalysts as the bourses settle back into their routines after the Lunar New Year holiday. The European and U.S. markets were mixed but little changed, and the Asian markets are expected to do the same.
The STI finished barely higher on Wednesday as gains from the financials and properties were capped by weakness from the plantation sector.
For the day, the index added 3.22 points or 0.09 percent to finish at 3,440.83 after trading between 3,437.55 and 3,455.32. Volume was 1.38 billion shares worth 1.28 billion Singapore dollars.
Among the actives, Keppel Corp added 0.34 percent, while SembCorp fell 1.17 percent, City Developments gained 0.58 percent, Hongkong Land shed 0.65 percent, Wilmar International dropped 1.22 percent, Genting Singapore plunged 6.22 percent, Olam International climbed 2.00 percent, DBS Group collected 0.25 percent and United Overseas Bank advanced 0.39 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is roughly flat as stocks showed a lack of direction on Wednesday, bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the session largely unchanged.
The Dow inched up 15.38 points or 0.1 percent to a new record closing high of 18,224.57, while the NASDAQ eased 0.98 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,967.14 and the S&P 500 dipped 1.62 points or 0.1 percent to 2,113.86.
The choppy trading came as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves following the upward trend seen over the past several weeks.
Traders also stayed on the sidelines as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered her second day of testimony on Capitol Hill. The Fed chief reiterating that the central bank is not likely to begin raising interest rates for at least the next couple monetary policy meetings.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department said that U.S. new home sales came in well above economist estimates in January.
Closer to home, Singapore will provide January figures for industrial production, with analysts expecting a decline of 12.0 percent on month and 6.0 percent on year. That follows the 1.8 percent monthly increase and the 1.9 percent yearly decline in December.
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