STI edges up 3 points at close, but ends month with 5% loss

SINGAPORE - Singapore equities on Wednesday snapped a five session losing streak with a small gain, bolstered by rallies in markets across the region.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) edged up just 2.95 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 2,790.89.

For the month, however, the STI logged a heavy 4.7 per cent loss - its fifth straight month in the red and the worst quarterly performance since the fourth quarter of 2008.

In Asia, Japan rose 2.7 per cent while Hong Kong climbed 1.41 per cent.

Shanghai pared its biggest quarterly loss by ending 0.48 per cent higher as traders kept to the sidelines ahead of the release of manufacturing data.

The world's No2 economy has been showing signs of a sharper slowdown, fuelling unease over the health of the world economy.

Investors on Wall Street traded cautiously as well, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.3 per cent gain overnight following a volatile session.

Market watchers remain sceptical about the rebound, believing it to be only for the short-term.

"The biggest risk ... remains the anaemic recovery in the global economy given the backdrop of feeble demand," Mr Qiu Zhi, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Huatai Securities told Reuters.

As for Singapore, IG market strategist Bernard Aw said that momentum in the STI "remains firmly on the downside", having fallen more than 20 per cent from its recent peak of 3,544.51 in April.

"Singapore's growth prospects are not looking really optimistic, due primarily to China's weakening growth," he added. "We will need to see a significant improvement in the global growth outlook, particularly Chinese economic activity, before Singapore shares may go on the mend."

The day's gains were led by commodity plays, which bounced back after mining and commodity trading giant Glencore rebounded nearly 17 per cent.

The London-listed stock crashed about 30 per cent on Monday amid the weakness in commodity prices, sparking a confidence crisis in related stocks across Asia.

Trading firm Noble Group, which slumped as much as 15 per cent during trading on Tuesday, rose 1.5 cents or 3.8 per cent to 41.5 cents yesterday. It was the most active counter with about 75 million shares changing hands.

Golden Agri-Resources jumped two cents or 6.5 per cent to 33 cents while Wilmar International gained five cents or 2 per cent to $2.57.

Some 1.13 billion shares worth $1.34 billion were traded across the exchange.