(RTTNews.com) – The Singapore stock market has finished higher in back-to-back sessions, collecting more than 50 points or 1.5 percent along the way. The Straits Times Index ended just above the 3,410-point plateau, and the market may extend its gains on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to rising commodity prices and a weaker U.S. dollar. The European and U.S. markets were higher on Friday, and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The STI finished modestly higher on Friday as the financial shares and plantation stocks were mostly higher, while the properties turned in a mixed performance.
For the day, the index advanced 26.28 points or 0.78 percent to finish at 3,412.44 after trading between 3,376.62 and 3,417.45. Volume was 1.27 billion shares worth 1.54 billion Singapore dollars. There were 247 gainers and 184 decliners, with 501 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Keppel Corp climbed 1.84 percent, while City Developments gained 0.90 percent, Hongkong Land shed 1.19 percent, DBS Group collected 0.50 percent, United Overseas Bank jumped 1.10 percent, Golden Agri-Resources advanced 1.27 percent, Wilmar International dropped 1.24 percent, Singapore Exchange spiked 1.68 percent and Noble Group surged 2.94 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved higher on Friday after ending the previous session mixed. With the gains, the tech-heavy NASDAQ ended the session at its best closing level since early 2000.
The Dow jumped 168.62 points or 0.9 percent to 18,127.65, while the NASDAQ climbed 34.04 points or 0.7 percent to 5,026.42 and the S&P 500 advanced 18.79 points or 0.9 percent to 2,108.06. For the week, the NASDAQ soared 3.2 percent, while the S&P 500 surged by 2.7 percent and the Dow jumped 2.1 percent.
The strength on Wall Street was partly due to weakness in the value of the U.S. dollar, which has pulled back from its recent highs amid indications that the Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates more slowly than previously anticipated.
In the latest Fed forecasts, the central bank said the median projection for the mid-point of the fed funds target range at the end of 2015 is now 0.625 percent compared to 1.125 percent in December.
The drop by the value of the dollar helped to drive commodities prices higher, leading to considerable strength among resource stocks.
Closer to home, Singapore will release February figures for consumer prices later today. Inflation is expected to dip 0.2 percent on year after shedding 0.4 percent in January – when CPI had also fallen 0.2 percent on month.
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