Singapore shares firm as US Fed gives clarity on bond buying

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares inched up on Thursday, alongside other markets in the region, on a relief rally after the US central bank announced its plan to cut down its monetary stimulus but renewed its commitment to low key interest rates.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.2 per cent at 3,066.33 by midday, in line with a 0.2 per cent rise in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .

About 107 million shares were traded, almost half the average 30-day full-day volume, an improvement from lower turnover in the past few sessions.

"After the news on taper is out, people get clarity on what the Fed is going to do," said a Singapore-based dealer, adding that the fact that the cutback in monetary easing is not as drastic as feared helped calm investors and send them into a bargain-hunting mode.

"People are looking for index counters that have fallen quite a bit," he added.

Top performers on the index, Singapore Exchange rose as much as 2.3 per cent to a more than one-week high at $7.11, on course for its biggest one-day gain in 18 months. The stock dropped to a one-year low of $6.93 last week.

Keppel Corp gained as much as 2.2 per cent to $10.79, bouncing from a two-month low of $10.56 hit in the previous session.

In other stocks, Singapore Post rose about 2 per cent to $1.31. It is setting up an online store venture in a bid to transform itself into a regional e-commerce firm, the Straits Times reported.