SINGAPORE, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.2 percent higher on Friday, buoyed by data on U.S. jobs, retail sales and inflation this week that convinced many investors the recovery in the world's largest economy is gaining momentum.
The U.S. Dow Jones industrial average once again closed at a record high, rising for a tenth straight day on Thursday for its longest winning streak since 1996, while the Standard and Poor's 500 Index closed less than two points from an all-time closing high of 1,565.15 set in October 2007.
European shares also surged to fresh four-and-a-half year peaks on Thursday on upbeat corporate updates, lower-than-expected weekly U.S. jobless claims, and a lack of inflation pressure.
Maybank-Kim Eng Research said "risk aversion abated following another set of impressive data from the U.S. that powered the Dow Jones (Industrial Average) to its longest rally since 1996," adding that "market expectations that central banks would maintain their accommodative policies despite the better data are also adding to the risk-on sentiments."
But Song Seng Wun, head of research at CIMB Research said the Straits Times Index may face some headwinds to crossing 3,300 points resistance during the session as Hong Kong and China shares are lower amid continued concerns about the mainland's economy. He added the news-flow from the China is still a little bit uncertain on whether we are seeing a broad-based recovery and inflation becoming a bigger worry.
Phillip Securities Research said near-term support of local bourse will be at 3,250 points and 3,200 points level, while 3,319 points will be the key resistance level, followed by 3,400 points psychological resistance level and subsequently 3,800 points major resistance.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index rose 6.55 points to 3, 286.05 points. Trading volume was 7.19 billion shares worth 2.89 billion Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 283 to 197, while 471 stocks did not move.
Ezra Holdings jumped 5.6 percent to 1.13 Singapore dollars. The sub-sea arm of the offshore services firm, EMAS AMC, said it has won two contracts for sub-sea projects, including one worth 165 million U.S. dollars for oil development in the Norwegian North Sea.
Among top gainers, Jardine Strategic rose 7.5 percent to 40.86 U.S. dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 0.9 percent to 52.50 Singapore dollars. (1 U. S. dollar equals 1.25 Singapore dollars)