Singapore shares ended with a marginal gain yesterday, just enough to shrug off the mixed sentiment that left most regional markets closing in the red.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 1.87 points or 0.06 per cent higher at 3,175.11.
Trading was fairly active, with total turnover of 1.74 billion shares worth $1.56 billion across the market. For the week, the STI moved up 1.02 per cent.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong fell 0.78 per cent, Sydney pared 0.53 per cent, and Tokyo slid 0.81 per cent.
It wasn't a big jump on the home front but, in a small way, it helped in the STI's strong effort to put on 10.2 per cent since the start of the year.
"The STI outperformed six of the seven regional stock indices which included the Hang Seng Index, Bursa Malaysia KLCI, Jakarta Composite Index, Stock Exchange of Thailand Index, Nikkei 225 Index and the CSI 300 Index," Singapore Exchange market strategist Geoff Howie said.
The top five STI performers in the first quarter this year were Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Global Logistic Properties (GLP), City Developments, CapitaLand and Keppel Corp.
Incidentally, GLP was the top performer among the nine STI stocks that gained yesterday. It rose three cents or 1.09 per cent to $2.78, with 19.6 million shares traded.
Keppel Corp was up five cents or 0.73 per cent to $6.94, but CapitaLand ended flat at $3.63. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was also unchanged, closing at $1.13.
In the banking sector, DBS Group Holdings put on 10 cents or 0.52 per cent to $19.40, and United Overseas Bank added nine cents or 0.41 per cent to $22.11. OCBC increased one cent or 0.1 per cent to $9.72.
There were reasons to be positive on the sector, after the latest official data showed that February bank loans growth was 5.2 per cent year on year and 1.7 per cent month on month.
"For January to February 2017, bank loans growth averaged 4 per cent year on year, which is what we had tipped… and in turn gives us greater confidence in our full-year 2017 loans growth forecast of 7 per cent year on year," OCBC economist Selena Ling said.
Meanwhile, 15 STI stocks fell, with Jardine Cycle & Carriage dropping 53 cents or 1.19 per cent to $43.86. ComfortDelGro shed three cents or 1.16 per cent to $2.56, and CapitaLand Commercial Trust eased 1.5 cents or 0.96 per cent to $1.545 on 12.98 million shares done.
Outside the benchmark, the trading stayed hot in the small and mid-cap segment. ISR Capital - the market's top active stock for a while now - sank another 0.2 cent or 22.22 per cent to 0.7 cent, with 119.73 million shares traded.
Charisma Energy was also among the more actively traded counters, with 39.98 million shares transacted. It closed 0.1 cent or 11.11 per cent higher at one cent.