RTTNews - The Singapore stock market has closed higher in two of three trading days since the end of the three-day losing streak in which it had shed more than 80 points or 3.7 percent. The Straits Times Index regained support at 2,300 points, and now investors are looking for additional, if mild, movement to the upside at the opening of trade on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets calls for little change, continuing the trend that has been largely pervasive all week as investors take a wait-and-see attitude as corporate earnings season continues to unfold. A mild recovery among the commodities spurred the European markets to a higher finish, while the U.S. bourses ended right near the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are expected to move slightly to the upside.

The STI finished sharply higher on Thursday, thanks to gains among the financials, properties and telecoms.

For the day, the index surged 47.84 points or 2.11 percent to close at 2,307.61 after trading between 2,262.34 and 2,314.62. Volume was 1.28 billion shares worth 1.28 billion Singapore dollars. There were 296 gainers and 145 decliners, with 806 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, CapitaLand rose 3.6 percent, while City Developments was up 5.5 percent, DBS added 1.8 percent, UOB gained 2.3 percent, OCBC jumped 3.5 percent and SingTel surged 3.6 percent - and Singapore Airlines and Neptune Orient Lines also were higher.

Wall Street offers little guidance with a virtually flat lead with a touch of upside as stocks saw choppy trading over the course of Thursday's session, finishing up by modest margins following some encouraging employment data. The major averages all closed on the upside but were once again limited by low volume characteristic of the summer season. Trading has been relatively subdued in recent weeks, with traders staying on the sidelines as economists forecast that the economy will see a recovery near the end of the calendar year.

The day's buying interest was largely generated by a report from the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits decreased substantially in the week ended July 4. The report showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week. With the bigger than expected decrease, weekly jobless claims fell below the 600,000 level for the first time since January.

However, the report also showed that continuing claims, which measure the number of people continuing to claim unemployment benefits, rose to 6.883 million in the week ended June 27. The increase lifted continuing claims to a new record high.

Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, which showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales.

Dow component Alcoa (AA) unofficially kicked off the start of the earnings season after the closing bell yesterday, reporting at narrower loss than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.

While the Dow bounced back and forth across the unchanged line going into the close, the blue chip index managed to end the session up by 4.76 points or 0.1 percent at 8,183.17, the NASDAQ rose by 5.38 points or 0.3 percent to 1,752.55 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4 percent at 882.68.

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