Singapore shares rose on Wall Street gain

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed higher for the third straight session.
The benchmark Straits Times Index closed higher for the third straight session. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore market was the region's leading performer on Feb 23, taking cue from the stellar gain on Wall Street overnight.

The benchmark Straits Times Index added 11.42 points or 0.43 per cent to 2,672.07, closing higher for the third straight session. 1.35 billion shares worth $1.15 billion were traded, marking a relatively active day.

Only Singapore shared the bullish sentiment that lifted Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average up by 1.4 per cent overnight. Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo were all down.

A total of 17 of the 30 STI constituents closed higher, led by Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which put on two US cents or 4.44 per cent to 47 US cents.

All three banks rose, with OCBC Bank up 13 cents or 1.64 per cent to $8.08. United Overseas Bank gained 19 cents or 1.11 per cent to $17.33, while DBS went up seven cents or 0.51 per cent to $13.69. These gains came after all three banks announced their better-than-expected results, even as credit quality risks linger.

Keppel Corp managed to closed up six cents or 1.15 per cent at $5.27, despite unverified news this week that Sete Brasil may file for bankruptcy protection within days.

Both Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, which dropped half a cent or 0.3 per cent to $1.635, have pencilled in huge provisions for the potential impact from the demise of Sete Brasil, which is a major rig client for both.

"It also raises concerns if the rigbuilders are required to write down the value of their yard facilities in Brazil given the lack of revenue visibility in the medium term, in particular for Sembcorp Marine which has invested $1 billion for the new yard over the past three years," DBS analyst Ho Pei Hwa said in a note.

Meanwhile, Genting Singapore lost the most among the blue chips, down three cents or 3.92 per cent to 73.5 cents as investors exited on a high following the steady gain since mid-February.

Golden Agri-Resources, which is set to announce its 2015 results next Tuesday (March 1), dropped one cent or 2.67 per cent to 36.5 cents. Singapore Airlines closed down 18 cents or 1.55 per cent at $11.46.

Activities in the penny segment were also strong. Profit taking sent Spackman Entertainment - which rose 58 per cent in the previous five days - down 0.4 cents or 3.23 per cent to 12 cents, with 57 million shares traded.

Ezra Holdings was another top active, with 50 million shares traded. It rose 0.1 cents or 1.89 per cent to 5.4 cents.