Local shares made a slight comeback yesterday as anxiety eased over a December interest rate hike in the United States.
The Straits Times Index (STI) added 20 points, or 0.69 per cent, to close at 2,923.49. Overall trade remained weak, however, coming in at 1.29 billion units worth $825.2 million.
Markets across the region were a mixed bag, with Tokyo climbing 0.2 per cent on its reopening after a public holiday while Hong Kong slipped 0.3 per cent, dragged down by multi-year lows in resource shares.
"The commodity sector is really being hit hard, primarily by global growth concerns but also the oversupply issue," Mr Yogesh Dewan, founder and chief executive officer of Hassium Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV. "The market has been cautious."
Shanghai advanced 0.2 per cent despite wiping out earlier gains in the last few minutes of trading.
Seoul gained 0.6 per cent, Sydney lost 0.9 per cent, Jakarta added 0.1 per cent and Kuala Lumpur rose 0.4 per cent. Market watchers believe trade will stay tepid all week, with markets subdued ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow.
Wall Street had dipped 0.2 per cent overnight, paring earlier gains.
The STI yesterday was lifted largely by rallies in the three local banks. DBS Group Holdings rose 13 cents or 0.8 per cent to $16.91; United Overseas Bank put on 12 cents or 0.6 per cent to $19.89; and OCBC Bank added four cents or 0.5 per cent to $8.86.
Casino operator Genting Singapore jumped 4.5 cents or 6 per cent to 79.5 cents, while shipbuilder Yangzijiang Shipbuilding added 2.5 cents or 2.2 per cent to $1.14.
Container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines continued to make strides, rising two cents or 1.7 per cent to $1.19.
The company announced at the weekend that it was in talks with France's CMA CGM, the world's third-largest shipping liner, over a possible buyout.
The stock is up 41.7 per cent so far this year, driven in part by acquisition talks.
Meanwhile, commodity trader Noble Group slid half a cent or 1.2 per cent to 40.5 cents after Standard & Poor's joined Moody's Investors Service in reviewing the firm's ratings amid concern about its liquidity. This comes as the sector continues to grapple with the prolonged weakness in commodity prices.
The stock was among the day's most active counters, with 51.6 million shares changing hands.
Doormaker KLW Holdings tumbled 0.1 cent or 14.3 per cent to 0.6 cent on news that the Commercial Affairs Department is questioning two of its senior executives for possible offences under the Securities and Futures Act.
Oil and gas player Linc Energy slumped 2.5 cents or 10.4 per cent to 21.5 cents.