Singapore market rebounds from falls in the last four days

SINGAPORE shares ended higher for the first time in five sessions, but analysts fear that the improvement is not sustainable ahead of the next Federal Reserve meeting next week.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 30.64 points or 0.93 per cent up to 3,325.77, after it previously hit the 3,300 support level for the first time since January on Tuesday.

"I suspect this is just a technical rebound due to the strong support for the index around the 3,300 level. The local market may face selling pressure again in the coming days, ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee June meeting next week," Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee said.

The next FOMC meeting will take place on June 16 and 17. with continuing questionmark on when the world's biggest economy would see a hike in interest rates.

Mr Lee said while growth stocks might be scarce during this uncertain period, value hunting in oil and gas sector might be feasible.

Front-month Brent crude futures rose to a two-week high of US$66.36, following an American Petroleum Institute report that showed a sharp drop in the US inventories.

SembCorp Marine rose the most among blue chips as a result, closing 14 cents or 5.05 per cent up at $2.91. Other oil and gas plays also gained, with Keppel Corp closing two cents or 0.24 per cent up at $8.41, while Ezion Holdings outside the STI ended four cents or 4.04 per cent higher at $1.03.

Banking stocks also had another good run yesterday, with DBS closing 51 cents or 2.5 per cent up at $20.93, OCBC closing 11 cents or 1.11 per cent up at $10.06, while United Overseas Bank rose 23 cents or 1 per cent to a $23.15 close.

Commodities group Noble however continued its drop, losing the most among blue chips yesterday. It closed 1.5 cent or 2.27 per cent down to a new 52-week low at 64.5 cents.

Outside the STI, Q&M Dental Group was one of the highlights, closing five cents or 6.71 per cent up at 79.5 cents. The mainboard-listed dental group play has recently announced plans to expand in China through clinic acquisitions and partnerships.

whwong@sph.com.sg