Singapore shares rise, but volumes remain razor-thin

SINGAPORE stock prices rose healthily on Thursday, but the lacklustre turnover figures betrayed a market that remained very much in slumber mode.

Thursday's sea of green all over the region was driven by relatively strong economic numbers from the United States. The data had also sent Wall Street to yet another all-time high on Wednesday.

The Straits Times Index caught some of the good vibes to rise 14.31 points or 0.45 per cent to 3,186.37, in the process displaying more movement that on most sessions this month.

But focusing on the index numbers would give a misleading impression of a market caught in its year-end lull. A yawn-inducing 1.26 billion shares worth $655 million was traded, down from Wednesday's already-soft 1.63 billion shares worth $730 million.

That meant that the stock price rises may not be backed by much investor interest, and that the buying and selling decisions of a relatively small group of traders had a disproportionate impact on the market.

For example, property developer City Developments rose 16 cents or 1.6 per cent to $10.06. But only 519,000 shares were traded, well short of the past year's daily average of 1.09 million shares.