(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market on Friday halted the two-day slide in which it had fallen more than 25 points or 0.7 percent. The Straits Times Index closed just above the 3,415-point plateau, although the market may hand back those gains on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly negative on concerns that the Federal Reserve may be raising interest rates sooner rather than later. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses sharply lower, and the Asian markets also figure to open in the red.
The STI finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares, plantation stocks, properties and telecoms.
For the day, the index advanced 22.24 points or 0.66 percent to finish at 3,417.51 after trading between 3,406.38 and 3,423.76. Volume was 1.04 billion shares worth 1.13 billion Singapore dollars. There were 219 decliners and 202 gainers, with 511 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, City Developments jumped 1.29 percent, while Hongkong Land climbed 1.71 percent, DBS Group collected 0.98 percent, Noble Group surged 4.98 percent, Golden Agri-Resources advanced 1.22 percent, Wilmar International spiked 1.23 percent and SingTel gained 1.70 percent.
The lead from Wall Street suggests consolidation as stocks moved sharply lower on Friday in a negative reaction to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report – which more than offset the gains in the previous session.
The Dow shed 278.94 points or 1.5 percent to 17,856.78, while the NASDAQ slumped 55.44 points or 1.1 percent to 4,927.37 and the S&P 500 plunged 29.78 points or 1.4 percent to 2,071.26. For the week, the NASDAQ fell 0.7 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 lost 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
The weakness followed a Labor Department report showing that stronger than expected job growth pushed the unemployment rate down to a six-year low in February. While the data paints an upbeat picture regarding the labor market, it also added to speculation about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in the near future.
Non-farm payroll employment added 295,000 jobs in February, beating forecasts for 230,000 jobs. The jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent in January, below estimates for 5.6 percent.
The jobs report overshadowed a separate report from the Commerce Department showing that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in line with estimates in January.
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