SINGAPORE - Local shares joined the regional rally on Nov 19 after the latest US Federal Reserve meeting minutes released overnight gave the clearest indication yet that the rate hike will be announced in December.
Shanghai was up 1.36 per cent, Hong Kong gained 1.41 per cent, and Tokyo rose 1.07 per cent. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index did not miss the wagon, closing up 33.75 points or 1.17 per cent to 2,919.83.
The clarity on the rate hike's timing cannot come a moment too soon, IG market analyst Bernard Aw told the Straits Times, saying: "we need to move beyond this rate hike drama and focus on the fundamentals of growth."
Wednesday's session reflected plenty of bright spots. The overall market saw 981.9 million shares worth $706.6 million transacted, implying more activities away from the blue chips as investors sought trading opportunities in the cheaper small and mid cap segment.
The top active counter was Spackman Entertainment Group, up one cent or 7.25 per cent to 14.8 cents. The film company continued to stay hot, with some 140.7 million shares changing hands yesterday, following recent news on earnings improvement and strong box office results in Korea.
Frasers Hospitality Trust was also up, rising 0.5 cents or 0.68 per cent to 73.5 cents.
On the STI, CapitaLand gained the most, up eight cents or 2.61 per cent to $3.15, while Jardine Cycle & Carriage rose 75 cents or 2.35 per cent to $32.7.
All three banks closed higher. DBS Group Holdings was up 19 cents or 1.13 per cent to $17, OCBC Bank went up 13 cents or 1.47 per cent to close at $8.95, and United Overseas Bank gained 38 cents or 1.93 per cent to $20.02.
Meanwhile, only four blue chips ended the day lower. Thai Beverage lost the most among the bunch, down 0.5 cents or 0.74 per cent to 67 cents. SIA Engineering pared two cents or 0.53 per cent to $3.72, Sembcorp Marine dropped one cent or 0.45 per cent to $2.19, and Singapore Press Holdings closed down one cent or 0.25 per cent to $3.99.
Sembcorp Marine announced on Thursday that its subsidiary has secured an order to design and build a new floating, storage and offloading vessel for Modec. The contract value was not revealed, but CIMB estimated a sum of US$150 - 180 million in a note.