RTTNews - The Singapore stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, collecting nearly 75 points or 3 percent in that span. The Straits Times Index closed just shy of the 2,620-point plateau, although investors are optimistic that the market can squeeze up above that level when it opens for business on Wednesday.
The Asian markets are dealt a cautiously optimistic lead from the global forecast after most stocks in the region finished lower in the previous session. Airlines and housing stocks are expected to support the markets, while the financials, properties and gold miners also are predicted to rebound - but oil stocks may fall under pressure on the declining price of crude oil. The European and U.S. markets finished with mild gains and the Asian bourse are also tipped to move modestly to the upside.
The STI finished slightly higher on Tuesday, as modest strength among the airlines and the telecoms was enough to nudge the market into positive territory.
For the day, the index added 6.43 points or 0.25 percent to close at 2,618.76 after trading between 2,574.79 and 2,625.10. Volume was 3.64 billion shares worth 1.91 billion Singapore dollars. There were 358 gainers and 213 decliners, with 793 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Noble Group, Keppel Corp, DBS, Singapore Airlines and Singapore Telecommunications all finished higher, while United Overseas Bank was unchanged and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp ended slightly lower.
The lead from Wall Street is mildly positive as stocks finished modestly higher on Tuesday, as the day's positive economic reports and news of Ben Bernanke's reappointment generated some upbeat sentiment on Wall Street. The major averages all finished in positive territory by slim margins, well off their best levels of the day.
Buying interest was largely sparked by the day's economic data, with a report from the Conference Board showing that consumer confidence rebounded significantly in the month of August after seeing some deterioration in July. The consumer confidence index jumped to 54.1 in August from an upwardly revised 47.4 in July. Economists had been expecting the index to increase to 47.9 from the 46.6 originally reported for the previous month.
Separately, Standard and Poor's revealed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell at an annual rate of 15.4 percent in June compared to a revised 17 percent drop in May. Economists had expected prices to fall 16.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
In other news, President Barack Obama officially nominated Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman this morning, with the president praising the manner in which the Fed Chief handled the recent financial crisis.
Meanwhile, both the White House and the Congressional Budget Office released new projections of near-record budget deficits totaling roughly $1.58 trillion for 2009. That level of deficit, a combination of increased government spending and plummeting tax revenues due to the recession, will ring in at 11.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the highest deficit since World War II, according to both analyses.
The major averages saw choppy movement in late session trading, holding onto modest gains. The Dow closed up 30.01 points or 0.3 percent at 9,539.29, the NASDAQ closed up 6.25 points or 0.3 percent at 2,024.23 and the S&P 500 closed up 2.43 points or 0.2 percent at 1,028.00.
In economic news, Singapore is on Wednesday set to release July numbers for industrial production. Output is forecast to decline 1 percent on year after the 9.3 percent annual contraction in June. Seasonally adjusted, output is seen higher by 7.1 percent on month after the 9.2 percent decline in June.
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