Singapore shares set to snap 2 weeks of losses

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares were poised to snap a two-week losing streak, encouraged by the United States Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates low as it begins to trim its bond-buying programme, while trading was weak ahead of year-end holidays.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.3 per cent at 3,079.35 by midday in thin trading, on track for a 0.4 per cent weekly rise.

Nearly 70 million shares were traded, just below a third of its average 30-day full-day volume.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3 per cent.

Top index performers were Hutchison Port Holdings Trust and CapitaMall Trust, both of which were hit hard in the previous session.

Business trusts and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), investors' favourites in a low interest rate environment as they provide high yields, have been losing their sheen. The FT ST REIT index has slumped more than 10 per cent so far this year, after rallying 37 per cent in 2012.

HPH Trust rebounded more than 2 per cent to US$0.645, but is headed for an 18 per cent fall in 2013. CapitaMall Trust gained 2.2 per cent to $1.86, hovering above a near 18-month low of $1.81 hit in the previous session.