Firmer close on Wall Street gives fillip to Singapore bourse

SINGAPORE - The Singapore stock market ended higher, in tandem with regional peers, as investors took their cue from a stronger overnight close on Wall Street amid expectations of a delayed interest rate hike.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 12.71 points or 0.37 per cent to 3,465.62 points, hitting its 52-week high while breaking through the resistance level of around 3,450.

This followed a 0.66 per cent rise in New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average, despite fresh signs that the United States economic recovery might be slowing down.

Non-farm payroll figure released last Friday showed that only 126,000 jobs were created in the US last month, well below the 12-month average of 269,000 jobs.

Remisier Alvin Yong said investors are betting on the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will delay hiking interest rates.

The best performing blue chip was Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit), which closed seven cents or 2.73 per cent up to a 52-week high at $2.63. The Reit's recent move to acquire a Science Park property while divesting a Senoko Way asset at a premium will have slight positive impact on unitholders, OCBC Investment Research analyst Andy Wong said last week.

Energy and offshore-related plays also rose on the back of a 5.8 per cent rise in Brent futures to US$58.12 per barrel overnight.

Sembcorp Industries closed six cents or 1.4 per cent up at $4.36, while Sembcorp Marine also rose four cents or 1.37 per cent to close at $2.96. Keppel Corp rose 11 cents or 1.23 per cent to $9.08.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines was the top loser, going down 11 cents or 0.92 per cent to close at $11.84. Sentiments over the national carrier have remained mixed in recent times amid the intense global competition in the aviation industry.

CapitaLand closed three cents or 0.84 per cent down at $3.55, and Singapore Exchange also dropped six cents or 0.74 per cent to $8.02.

Elsewhere in Asia, all major markets ended the day on a high note. Shanghai was up 2.52 per cent to hit a fresh seven year high, as investors continued to bet on further stimulus measures by the government. Tokyo also gained 1.25 per cent, while Kuala Lumpur rose 0.74 per cent. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange was closed for a holiday.