RTTNews - The Singapore stock market has finished higher now in consecutive sessions since marking the end of the four-day winning streak in which it gained nearly 150 points or 8 percent. The Straits Times Index is closing on 2,270 points, but now investors are bracing for a modest retreat at the opening of trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets offers little in the way of guidance as both the U.S. and United Kingdom markets were off Monday on holiday. Investors are likely to be spooked by the nuclear test conducted by North Korea and the worldwide condemnation that followed it, ratcheting up international tensions. The economic and corporate sectors provide no clear leads, so the Asian markets are expected to see little movement in thin trade.

The STI finished modestly higher on Monday, as the financials and properties - though mixed - showed just enough strength to nudge the market into positive territory.

For the day, the index gained 22.19 points or 0.99 percent to close at 2,267.46 after trading between 2,240.65 and 2,277.10. Volume was 2.87 billion shares worth 1.89 billion Singapore dollars. There were 393 gainers and 167 decliners, with 740 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, United Overseas Bank, CapitaLand, Keppel Land, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Petroleum Co (SPC) and Keppel Corp all finished higher, while DBS, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, City Developments, Singapore Telecommunications and Jardine Cycle and Carriage ended in the red.

The U.S .markets were closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, but many of the European markets rose for the first time in three days as a rally among pharmaceutical stocks overshadowed a report that showed German business confidence rose less than expected in May.

A monthly survey conducted by the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research showed that German business confidence improved to 84.2 in May from 83.7 in April. However, the indicator stood below the expected reading of 85.

Crude for July delivery fell $0.62 to $61.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, as investors eyed an OPEC meeting this week and weighed evidence of a global economic recovery.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.20 percent higher at 857.71 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.31 percent to 2,100.72 points. Around Europe, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.25 percent to 3,236.16, while Germany's DAX index fell 0.01 percent to 4,918.45. The U.K. market was closed for a holiday.

Sanofi-Aventis, France's biggest drug maker, surged up 1.6 percent after the company received a $190 million order for swine flu vaccine from the U.S. government. Swiss drug maker Roche climbed 1.6 percent after the company said its Mircera treatment helped anemia patients with chronic kidney disease in a study. Acciona jumped 2.5 percent after Celebi Hava Servisi, a Turkish provider of airport services, agreed to buy its ground-handling companies in Spain and Germany.

On the other hand, sports car maker Porsches slipped 3.1 percent after the company confirmed media reports that it received a ?700 million loan from Volkswagen to help with its finances. Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, fell 1 percent after the country's financial regulator started a probe into potential violations the company uncovered in its corporate security department.

In economic news, Singapore will on Tuesday announce April figures for industrial production, with forecasts calling for contraction of 21 percent on year after the 33.9 percent annual decline in March. On a monthly basis, output is seen higher by 6.3 percent after the 13.9 percent fall a month earlier.

Also, consumer prices in Singapore registered an unexpected decline in April, the first such fall in almost four years, owing to lower prices of housing as also transport and communication, official data showed Monday.

The Department of Statistics said in a report that the consumer price index dropped 0.7 percent year-on-year in April, after rising 1.6 percent in March. Economists expected prices to increase 0.7 percent. This is the first drop in consumer prices since June 2005.

In April, transport and communication dropped 6.3 percent on an annual basis, followed by a 1.7 percent fall in housing prices and a 0.3 percent drop in prices of recreation. However, food prices, with the maximum weight in the index, rose 3.6 percent.

Month-on-month, consumer prices were down 1.1 percent in April, following a 0.4 percent fall in March. Prices of most categories declined, however, prices of healthcare as also transport and communication increased in the month. Excluding accommodation costs, the consumer price index slipped 0.9 percent. After seasonal adjustments, consumer prices declined 1.5 percent on a monthly basis in April.

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