Singapore shares end the week 1.7% higher

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares closed a touch higher on Friday (May 5) as bullishness over OCBC Group ahead of its earnings results offset earlier losses from energy plays following a sharp drop in oil prices.

The key Straits Times Index finished 1.11 points or 0.03 per cent higher at 3,229.73, ending the week up 1.7 per cent.

Banking on a similar rally sparked by better than expected earnings from DBS Group and UOB, investors piled into OCBC, sending the bank up 0.6 per cent or six cents to S$10.22 ahead of its first quarter results next Tuesday.

The focus was also on the United States April jobs report later this evening and the second round of the French Presidential elections this Sunday.

"A Macron win is expected, while a Le Pen win will send some shock waves through the financial markets," a trader said.

Helping offset market weakness was Singtel, which rose 0.5 per cent or two cents to S$3.75 ahead of its results on May 18. Thai Beverage gained 1.1 per cent or one cent to 91 cents; ST Engineering was up 1.3 per cent or five cents to S$3.85. Hongkong Land edged up 0.5 per cent or four US cents to US$7.72.

PACC Offshore Services Holdings (Posh) fell 1.5 per cent or 0.5 cent to 32.5 cents despite a buy call from DBS Group Research, citing a continued pick up in offshore activity.

"Posh's share price was subject to a recent sell-off in listed offshore marine stocks, which is a function of profit-taking, a reaction to the downswing in oil prices, as well as continued news of distress cases, for example, Marco Polo Marine's suspension of trading.

"But we think the fundamental drivers of a recovery remain intact," the broker said.