Friday's gain fails to lift Straits Times Index from ending the week lower

Shares rebounded on Friday as positive corporate earnings and upbeat business developments lent support to the buying sentiment. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Shares rebounded on Friday as positive corporate earnings and upbeat business developments lent support to the buying sentiment. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Shares rebounded on Friday as positive corporate earnings and upbeat business developments lent support to the buying sentiment.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 7.1 points or 0.2 per cent to 3,246.2.

It was not enough however, to overturn losses incurred earlier in the week, dipping 5.1 points or 0.1 per cent for the five days of trade.

The STI was little changed for most of the day, trading just above water in the afternoon session before a late spurt near the closing bell made the gains somewhat more respectable.

Turnover was a decent $1.2 billion with some one billion shares changing hands.

Investors bought into stocks that reported better-than-expected earnings, including commodities firm Wilmar, which rose eight cents to $3.30 and United Overseas Bank, which added 17 cents to $23.57.

Europe was the bearer of good news on both the political and economic fronts, helping most Asian bourses to close firmly higher.

Germany reported on Friday that its economic growth shot up by 0.7 per cent in the fourth-quarter,after expanding 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter, while France managed to eke out a 0.1 per cent expansion after a 0.3 per cent rise.

A ceasefire agreement in Ukraine was also reached on Thursday to end the 10-month civil conflict between Ukrainian troops and the pro-Russian faction.

Perhaps of most consequence was optimism over the Greek financial woes, with the new, anti-austerity government pledging to continue talks with European and international debtors to reach a deal.

Hong Kong leapt 1.1 per cent, Shanghai hiked 1 per cent and Seoul jumped 0.8 per cent but Tokyo lost 0.4 per cent as a stronger yen led to a sell-off of exporters.