(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market has finished lower in back-to-back sessions, sliding more than 25 points or 0.7 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index settled just below the 3,400-point plateau, although the market may reclaim that level of support on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive following upbeat news out of Europe, although the upside may be capped by caution ahead of U.S. employment data that comes out later today. The European and U.S. markets ended higher, and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.

The STI finished modestly lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, plantation stocks and properties.

For the day, the index dropped 20.26 points or 0.59 percent to finish at the daily low of 3,395.27 after peaking at 3,422.03. Volume was 1.2 billion shares worth 934 million Singapore dollars. There were 245 decliners and 167 gainers.

Among the actives, City Developments dropped 1.56 percent, while Hongkong Land shed 1.30 percent, Golden Agri-Resources plunged 3.53 percent, Genting Singapore tumbled 1.55 percent, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation fell 0.48 percent, United Overseas Bank dipped 0.35 percent and SingTel lost 1.20 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is firm as stocks moved higher on Thursday, regaining ground after moving lower in the two previous sessions. Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, limiting the upside for the markets.

The Dow edged up 38.82 points or 0.2 percent to 18,135.72, while the NASDAQ rose 15.67 points or 0.3 percent to 4,982.81 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.51 points or 0.1 percent to 2,101.04.

News out of Europe was the catalyst as the European Central Bank provided additional details about its quantitative easing program. ECB President Mario Draghi revealed that the bank will purchase $ 66.3 billion worth of bonds each month beginning on March 9.

Nonetheless, traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report later today; they largely shrugged off a Labor Department report showing an unexpected increase in weekly jobless claims.

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