Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares rise for second straight session

Investors cautiously upbeat that the US Fed will not increase interest rates today

A positive lead from Wall Street and growing bets that United States interest rates may be left unchanged sent Singapore shares up for a second straight session.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 0.94 per cent, or 27.07 points, to 2,895.81, with banking counters leading the charge.

OCBC Bank was up 1.6 per cent, or 14 cents, to $9.11; and United Overseas Bank rose 0.9 per cent, or 18 cents, to $19.50.

A spike in oil prices also helped fuel Keppel Corp's gain of 3.7 per cent, or 25 cents, to $7.07. Sembcorp Industries rose 4.1 per cent, or 14 cents, to $3.52 while Sembcorp Marine climbed 3 per cent, or seven cents, to $2.39.

Singtel was one of the more actively traded counters, rising 0.8 per cent, or three cents, to $3.72, with 22.2 million shares changing hands.

The local rally also lifted commodity counters. Golden Agri-Resources rose nearly 5 per cent, or 1.5 cents, to 32 cents, with 55.4 million shares traded. Noble Group gained 4.4 per cent, or two cents, to 47 cents, with 46.2 million shares changing hands.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) slapped a "trade with caution" warning on Osim International after the firm said it could not explain a 6 per cent jump in its share price yesterday. Osim shares closed up 4 per cent, or six cents, to $1.56, with 3.56 million shares traded.

SMRT Corp also got a query on unusual price movements in its stock yesterday, but it said it was "not aware of any other possible explanation". SMRT jumped 6.9 per cent, or 8.5 cents, to $1.31, with 4.67 million shares traded.

The risk buying continued in Asia yesterday as investors were "cautiously optimistic" that the US Federal Reserve would be unlikely to raise rates today, IG market strategist Bernard Aw said.

Meanwhile, TLV Holdings, the parent company of Taka Jewellery and Lovis Diamonds, made a strong debut yesterday on the Catalist board, closing at 28.5 cents with 57.2 million shares traded. Its initial public offering price (IPO) was 22 cents.

The IPO is expected to raise gross proceeds of $15.6 million, of which nearly half will be used as working capital and the rest for expansion of its retail and exhibitions business.

TLV's listing brings the total number of consumer sector companies on SGX to 161, with a combined market capitalisation of $128 billion, according to the exchange yesterday. Following the listing, there are 165 companies listed on Catalist with a total market capitalisation of more than $9 billion.

SIA Engineering rose six cents to $3.70. OCBC Investment Research noted that since it downgraded the stock in November last year, the firm's share price has fallen by about 16 per cent.

"We believe the share price correction has largely priced in the muted outlook," it said in a note yesterday, adding that it is upgrading the stock to a "hold" call.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore shares rise for second straight session'. Print Edition | Subscribe