A rebound on Wall Street overnight after a two-day rout gave local investors just enough confidence to push the market into the black yesterday.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 2.73 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,041.38, with losers beating gainers 193 to 170 on trade of 1.22 billion shares worth $669.8 million.
FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed noted that American stocks rose, thanks to tech shares recovering somewhat and a slight recovery in oil prices.
But he said investors in Asia did not seem inspired by the shy rally, with equities "struggling to find direction" in the early morning.
Market observers seem to agree that investors should not read too much into Wall Street's rise, given the light trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Singapore Exchange noted yesterday that the STI has generated a return of -6.8 per cent so far this year compared with +0.2 per cent for the Nikkei 225, -5.1 per cent for the ASX 200, -6.7 per cent for the Hang Seng and -19.5 per cent for the Shanghai Composite.
The five best-performing STI constituents were Dairy Farm, ComfortDelGro, ST Engineering, Jardine Matheson and CapitaLand Mall Trust.
CapitaLand Mall Trust gained 2.8 per cent to $2.24 yesterday. While Phillip Securities has a "neutral" recommendation with a target price of $2.09, Nomura has a "buy" rating with a target price of $2.40 and CIMB is also a "buy", but at a target of $2.28.
Among the property trusts, Aims AMP Capital Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust, or AA Reit, rose 3.8 per cent to $1.35 after Aims Financial Service Group said it plans to buy its partner managing the Reit for an undisclosed sum.
First Reit added 5 per cent to $1.04, while Keppel Reit lost 1.8 per cent to $1.12.
The banks did not help the STI: DBS was flat at $23, United Overseas Bank dipped 0.9 per cent to $23.88 and OCBC Bank lost 0.8 per cent to $10.80.
Singtel gained 0.6 per cent to $3.10 after reports noted that Bharti Airtel's debt woes are not expected to deter the regional telco.
No Signboard Holdings lost 2.6 per cent to 15.1 cents after impairing the goodwill and intangible asset of its beer unit for the fourth quarter and the 2018 fiscal year.
It is expected to record accounting losses for the same period.
Soilbuild Construction Group lost 6.3 per cent to 7.5 cents. The company announced that it is buying Sembcorp EOSM for $12.3 million.