Singapore stocks end higher on improved sentiments

The Singapore stock market ended firmer today after starting the second quarter on a quiet note on Wednesday, as performance in regional markets helped lift sentiments ahead of the long weekend. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Singapore stock market ended firmer today after starting the second quarter on a quiet note on Wednesday, as performance in regional markets helped lift sentiments ahead of the long weekend. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Singapore stock market ended firmer today after starting the second quarter on a quiet note on Wednesday, as performance in regional markets helped lift sentiments ahead of the long weekend.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) close 6.73 points or 0.2 per cent up at 3,453.75. For the week, which was shortened by the Good Friday break, the STI was up a marginal 0.1 per cent.

Local commodity plays firmed up as the sector benefited from the weakening US dollar.

Golden Agri-Resources was the top gainer among blue chips, closing 1.5 cents higher at 43 cents. Noble also gained 1.5 cents to 93 cents, following an announcement that the commodity trader has repurchased US$20 million in medium term notes to further lower its liabilities.

Keppel Corp closed one cent up at $8.95. The company had acquired 95.1 per cent in Keppel Land on March 31, falling short of the 95.5 per cent threshold that would have triggered a higher offer price of $4.60 per share.

On the other hand, Singapore Airlines was the top loser, closing 14 cents down at $11.99. The carrier shot down rumour that it was in talks to buy a minority stake in Hong Kong Airlines International, a move that would up the ante in its competition with Cathay Pacific for the Greater China market.

ComfortDelGro closed one cent down at $2.86, while Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) closed flat at $2.60. But market view is positive on the Reit, which boosted its asset portfolio with an $112 million acquisition of a Science Park property this week.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas plays remained a mixed bag, even as Brent futures rose US$1.99 overnight.

Ezion closed two cents up at $1.07 and Ezra gained 0.5 cent to 42.5 cents. But Sembcorp Marine lost two cents to $2.90.