RTTNews - One day after it halted the four-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 170 points or 6.9 percent en route to a fresh 10-month closing high, the Singapore stock market headed right back to the upside again on Thursday. The Straits Times Index moved above the 2,630-point plateau, and now analysts are projecting further gains for the market at the opening of trade on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly positive, with solid gains expected from the financial shares. The continuing rebound among the resources - and the price of oil, in particular - adds to the positive sentiment. Commercial real estate and chemical stocks also are tipped higher. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in positive territory, and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.

The STI finished sharply higher on Thursday, fueled by gains among the financials and airlines. Property stocks finished in mixed fashion, while the telecoms ended to the downside.

For the day, the index jumped 32.12 points or 1.23 percent to close at 2,636.19 after trading between 2,593.39 and 2,636.19.

Among the actives, DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Keppel Land and Singapore Airlines all finished to the upside, while Singapore Telecom and CapitaLand fell under selling pressure.

Wall Street offers a firm lead as stocks posted strong gains on Thursday, fueled by stabilizing earnings and employment figures while respectable results for a seven-year note auction also boosted equities. The major averages all finished the day firmly in positive territory despite some late session profit taking, closing at their best levels of the year.

Early buying interest was generated as traders reacted positively to the latest earnings and economic data, including the Labor Department's report on first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended July 25. While the Labor Department said jobless claims came in above the average analyst estimate, there were some concerns that claims could have come in substantially higher. Further, the four-week moving average fell for the fifth straight week, dropping to its lowest level since January.

The report said that weekly jobless claims rose to 584,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 559,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 575,000 from the 554,000 originally reported for the previous week. The report also showed that the less volatile four-week moving average fell to 559,000 from the previous week's revised average of 567,250.

Traders also delved into a slew of earnings reports, with Visa (V) reporting adjusted earnings and revenues that beat estimates. Cigna (CI), Tyco (TYC), Kellogg (K) and Master Card (MA) also surpassed expectations on the bottom line, although revenues largely missed the mark. Meanwhile, energy giant Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell well short of earnings forecasts, although its revenues beat expectations.

Equities saw some modest upside after the results of the Treasury Department's $28.0 billion sale of seven-year notes showed that the auction attracted stronger than expected demand. The sale drew a high-yield of 3.369 percent, while the bid-to-cover ratio came in at 2.63. The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The major averages ceded considerable ground heading into the close, but they were able to hold onto strong gains. The Dow finished up by 83.74 points or 0.9 percent at 9,154.46, the NASDAQ advanced by 16.54 points or 0.8 percent to 1,984.30 and the S&P 500 rose by 11.60 points or 1.2 percent to 986.75.

In economic news, Singapore will on Friday announce seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers for the second quarter. Analysts are expecting the rate to climb to 3.7 percent from the current 3.2 percent.

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