Singapore shares end week higher with lift from Europe, US

SINGAPORE - Investors returned with confidence to the market after Europe signalled it was ready for a new era of growth.

Hopes that the United States could put out encouraging jobs data also fuelled the buying sentiment, enabling shares to go back in the green after two straight sessions of losses.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 22.2 points or 0.7 per cent to 3,417.5. It closed up 14.7 points or 0.4 per cent for the week.

Turnover stood at $1.1 billion with some 1 billion shares traded, largely in line with the average daily this week.

Phillip Futures analyst Howie Lee said Europe was the big boost to the markets.

"The market rallied on bullish sentiment from the ECB (European Central Bank) where it raised the regional forecast by 50 basis points."

The ECB said it expects the eurozone area to grow by 1.5 per cent this year, above its previous estimates of 1 per cent.

ECB president Mario Draghi also gave more details of the bloc's quantitative-easing programme, which is slated to start on Monday.

Mr Draghi reiterated that the 60 billion euro a month of asset purchases will last until at least September 2016, assuring markets of continued liquidity, a boon for markets.

Remisier Desmond Leong said investors also took advantage of the recent decline in stocks the STI's rise on Friday to return to the market.

"People are buying on dips and it's more like a rebound from the previous two days where the market was rather weak and choppy of late due to uncertainty over the US economic growth."

It was a mixed bag of results in other Asian markets. Tokyo rose 1.2 per cent, Seoul added 0.7 per cent but Hong Kong lost 0.1 per cent and China slid 0.2 per cent.

"The bears won in the markets in China and Hong Kong, where they were weighed down by the reality of slower economy."