RTTNews - The Singapore stock market has finished higher in two of the last three sessions and in three of the last six trading days since ending the modest two-day winning streak in which it had collected 90 points or 4 percent on its way to its highest closing level so far this year. The Straits Times Index is knocking on the door to resistance at 2,350 points, and now analysts say the market could break through at the opening of trade on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is slightly positive, with the financial shares expected to stage a minor rally while the automobile producers may see some caution. Some lukewarm economic data out of the United States may slightly boost sentiment, as might commodities on a weaker greenback. The European markets were mixed, while the U.S. bourses ended generally higher - and the Asian markets are also expected to trade in mixed fashion.
The STI finished modestly higher on Tuesday, thanks to gains among the financials and the airlines.
For the day, the index was up 16.17 points or 0.69 percent to close at 2,349.87 after trading between 2,314.62 and 2,363.28. Volume was 2.45 billion shares worth 1.55 billion Singapore dollars. There were 246 decliners and 235 gainers, with 782 stocks finishing unchanged.
Leading the gainers, Singapore Airlines gained 4.4 percent and Singapore Exchange rose 0.9 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks showed some life in afternoon trading on Tuesday, finishing largely on the upside after being plagued by choppy trading for much of the session. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 saw some strength on the day, while the Dow drifted lower just before the closing bell.
The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that 10 of the largest U.S. financial institutions borrowing money from the Treasury are planning on paying back their loans. Organizations such as JP Morgan Chase (JPM), U.S. Bancorp (USB) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) will repay a total of $68 billion.
President Barack Obama praised the move, noting that the government has turned a profit from the first round of repayments. He also offered cautious optimism that the financial system is stabilizing. While Obama said that the announcement that banks are relying less on Treasury assistance is welcome news, he said it does not excuse the actions of the banks. The president also announced his intention to instate the pay as you go program, restricting the amount of money lawmakers can spend to only what they can save in other areas.
On the economic front, wholesale inventories fell by a little more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, with the report also showing a modest decrease in wholesale sales. The report showed that wholesale inventories fell 1.4 percent in April following a revised 1.8 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected inventories to decrease by about 1.1 percent compared to the 1.6 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
Additionally, the Commerce Department said that wholesale sales edged down 0.4 percent in April after falling by a more significant 2.4 percent in March. Wholesale sales were down 19.5 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
In corporate news, bankrupt automaker Chrysler's planned asset sale to a group led by Italian automaker Fiat was thrown into uncertainty after a U.S. Supreme Court Justice issued a stay on the sale. The stay was sought by a group of Indiana pension funds.
General Motors Corp. (GMGMQ.PK) also announced that Edward Whitacre Jr., former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T (T) would become chairman of the new GM when the company is re-launched later this summer. Kent Kresa will continue to serve as interim chairman until the launch.
Stocks finished the day mostly higher, led by gains in the technology sector. The tech-heavy NASDAQ closed up by 17.73 points or 1 percent at 1,860.13 and the S&P 500 rose 3.29 points or 0.4 percent to 942.43, while the Dow slipped by 1.43 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 8,763.06.
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