Singapore shares finished the week on an upbeat note yesterday as regional markets continued to achieve modest gains.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 29.2 points, or 1.05 per cent, to 2,802.51. It added 38.69 points or 1.4 per cent for the week.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong grew 0.88 per cent, spurred by market talk that China is set to approve a plan to link the stock markets in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and to expand the Shanghai-Hong Kong connect programme. Tokyo put on 0.37 per cent, Seoul added 0.62 per cent and Sydney edged up 0.33 per cent. Shanghai performed contrarily, dipping 0.05 per cent to round off its sixth straight week in the red, after data showed profit growth at China's industrial firms slowed in April.
Wall Street eased 0.13 per cent overnight as traders stepped back to weigh a two-day market rally ahead of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's speech in Massachusetts early this morning Singapore time which may offer hints on the next rate hike.
Analysts believe that downside risks remain.
"The markets are sluggish on uncertainties over the two biggest economies of the world. There are still worries over the Fed raising rates sooner than expected, while concerns over the Chinese economy continue keeping the markets choppy," Mr Lee Chung Cheng, director of research at JF Apex Securities in Malaysia, told Reuters.
Of the 30 STI constituents, 25 moved higher, led in part by the three local banks. DBS Group Holdings rose 22 cents or 1.4 per cent to $15.54, United Overseas Bank gained 16 cents or 0.9 per cent to $18.21, and OCBC Bank climbed six cents or 0.7 per cent to $8.56.
Telco Singtel also put up a solid showing, advancing seven cents or 1.8 per cent to $3.93, while Hutchison Port Holdings Trust jumped two US cents or 4.7 per cent to 44.5 US cents.
The day's laggards were CapitaLand Commercial Trust, which slipped half a cent or 0.4 per cent to $1.41, and UOL Group, down two cents or 0.4 per cent to $5.68.
Offshore solutions provider Technics Oil & Gas tumbled 1.5 cents or 17.6 per cent to seven cents - although not before slumping to 5.8 cents in morning trade, triggering a trading query from the Singapore Exchange.
The group, which reported a series of legal suits in the past week, said it was not aware of any information behind the unusual movements, apart from the announcements it had earlier released.
"The company's last results have been dismal and, given the difficult conditions of the operating environment, rumours abound about a cash call soon," a dealer said in a NetResearch Asia note.
The most heavily traded counter was Magnus Energy Group, which was flat at 0.2 cent on a volume of 62.6 million shares.