Straits Times Index ends week on high note

SINGAPORE - Local stocks closed the week on a stellar note, as sentiments were lifted partly by the current hot streak in Chinese and Hong Kong markets while small and mid cap plays continued their recent rally.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 12.08 points up at 3,472.38. The strong gain pushed STI up 0.54 per cent for the week.

This marked the highest close for STI since the market crashed in 2009 during the economic crisis, as the index gained steadily in recent days to test the previous highs of around 3,460.

STI's massive rebound today also followed Wall Street's 0.31 per cent increase overnight, but a spill-over from the bullish activities in China is also a factor, CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said.

"With the hot money drawn to the region by the northern Asia markets, investors may be flowing to Singapore for bargain hunting, as the local market has so far been underperforming," Mr Teo said.

Noble emerged as one of today's best performers with a three cents or 3.49 per cent rise to 89 cents. The dramatic rebound could be due to the short-covering - buying back shares to close a short position - that came after Muddy Waters' announced to short the counter sent shares down by 5.5 per cent yesterday.

Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Marine also gained following a 1.8 per cent gain in Brent futures overnight to US$56.57 per barrel. Keppel Corp rose eight cents or 0.88 per cent to $9.21, while SembMarine closed two cents or 0.68 per cent higher at $2.98.

Meanwhile, Hongkong Land pared 12 US cents or 1.57 per cent to US$7.50, while ComfortDelGro dropped four cents or 1.37 per cent to $2.88.

OCBC dropped two cents or 0.19 per cent to $10.64, as profit taking resumed after the counter hit its full-year high at $10.68 on Wednesday. United Overseas Bank also closed 20 cents or 0.86 per cent down at $23.16, while DBS closed eight cents or 0.39 per cent up at $20.50.

Outside the STI, the small and mid cap stocks showed no signs of stopping their recent rally, with FTSE ST Catalist index gaining another 1.54 per cent to 745.47 today.