Singapore shares end higher despite geopolitical jitters, weak lead from Wall Street

A man walking down the escalator next to the big screen at the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
A man walking down the escalator next to the big screen at the Singapore Exchange (SGX).PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares ended a tad higher, shrugging off geopolitical jitters and a weak lead from Wall Street following weaker-than-expected United States ADP payroll data.

The key Straits Times Index ended 0.08 per cent or 2.67 points lower at 3,229.01, boosted by ComfortDelgro, which gained 1.3 per cent or three cents to $2.26. Golden Agri-Resources rose 1.3 per cent or 0.5 cents to 38 cents; Yangzijiang Shipbuilding grew 1.2 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.25; and Sats gained 0.8 per cent or four cents to $5.10.

Investors are awaiting US nonfarm payrolls data, which will be released at 8.30 pm Friday night.

"With inflation numbers still lacklustre, the US labour market conditions would have to hold up for investors to maintain their faith with the Fed's hawkish push for monetary policy," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.

Banks clawed back some gains after a choppy session following uncertainty over the US rate hike outlook after Fed officials appeared divided over the timing of the stimulus roll-off and unease over weak inflation.

DBS Group gained 0.4 per cent or nine cents to $20.83; OCBC Group rose 0.4 per cent or four cents to $10.69 and UOB edged up 0.1 per cent or three cents to $23.22.

Traders were also wary about the upcoming G20 meeting where "a clash of ideals" was expected between US President Donald Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Meanwhile, local oil and gas plays were hit by weaker oil prices, after data showed US production rose last week just as OPEC exports hit a new 2017 high, casting doubt on efforts by producers to curb oversupply.