SINGAPORE - Singapore shares rallied in line with most of Asia on news that Greek lawmakers passed a controversial bailout deal that keeps the country in the euro for now and as the European Central Bank weighs whether to pump more money into Greece.
The tough austerity measures are a precondition for as much as 86 billion euros (S$130 billion) in aid.
"In the near term, that puts a stop to bad news from Greece," remisier Desmond Leong said. "If Greece had left the euro, that would have an impact on financial markets because the euro would be hit, and companies earning in euro would have been hit. Still, in the long term, a Greek exit would be better for Europe because it would stop the bleeding of money to Greece."
The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 14.59 points to 3,353.45, led by banking blue-chips after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated on Wednesday that the Fed will probably raise interest rates this year, citing an upbeat take on the economy.
DBS gained 0.8 per cent or 18 cents to S$21.38, OCBC gained 1.28 per cent or 13 cents to S$10.33, while UOB was up 0.3 per cent or seven cents to S$23.29.
Penny plays continued to be the most actively traded, with CEFC International jumping 19 per cent or 1.6 cents to 10 cents, with 77 million shares traded.
New Silkroutes Group, formerly Digiland International, plunged 50 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.1 cent, with 42.2 million shares traded. The former computer distributor has been hogging the actively traded list for the past week after recently announcing plans to transform into an oil and gas company.
"There has been buying action in recent days as investors are betting on the revival of the company due to the change of business," Mr Leong said.
Shareholders are looking to New Silkroutes' newly appointed chief executive Mr Goh Jin Hian, the son of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Singapore's former prime minister, to turn Digiland's fortunes around after several years of losses.
Shares of International Healthway were flat at 30 cents, with 40.5 million shares traded after the healthcare company announced earlier it would buy all shares of Healthway Medical through a scheme of arrangement. IHC will buy shares of Healthway at 10 cents a piece.
Meanwhile, Ezra Holdings was also among the most actively traded, rising 0.6 per cent or 0.1 cent to 15.8 cents, with 29.4 million shares traded. The offshore support vessel owner is in the midst of a rights issue to raise up to US$300 million to repay existing debt.