STI inches up 20 points at close as anxiety eases over US Fed rate hike in December

 The Singapore Exchange office.
The Singapore Exchange office. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Local shares made a slight comeback on Tuesday, as anxiety over the December interest rate hike in the United States eased.

The Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 20 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 2,923.49.

Overall trade, however, remained weak, coming in at 1.29 billion units worth S$825.2 million.

Markets across the region were a mixed bag, with Tokyo climbing 0.2 per cent on its return from a public holiday, while Hong Kong slipped 0.3 per cent, dragged down by multi-year lows in resource shares.

"The commodity sector is really being hit hard, primarily by global growth concerns but also the oversupply issue," Mr Yogesh Dewan, founder and chief executive officer at Hassium Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV. "The market has been cautious."

Shanghai advanced 0.2 per cent, despite wiping out earlier gains in the last few minutes of trading.

Seoul gained 0.6 per cent, Sydney lost 0.9 per cent, Jakarta added 0.1 per cent and Kuala Lumpur rose 0.4 per cent.

Market watchers believe that trade would remain tepid throughout the week, with the markets subdued ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday.

Wall Street had dipped 0.2 per cent overnight, paring earlier gains.

The STI on Tuesday was lifted largely by rallies in the three local banks. DBS Group Holdings grew 13 cents or 0.8 per cent to S$16.91; United Overseas Bank edged up 12 cents or 0.6 per cent to S$19.89; and OCBC Bank put on four cents or 0.5 per cent to S$8.86.

Casino operator Genting Singapore was also one of the biggest winers, jumping four cents or 6 per cent to 79.5 cents, while shipbuilder Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings added 2.5 cents or 2.2 per cent to S$1.14.

Container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines continued to make strides, rising two cents or 1.7 per cent to S$1.19.

This was after the company announced over the weekend it was in exclusive talks with France's CMA CGM, the world's third largest shipping liner, over a possible buyout.

Meanwhile, commodity trader Noble Group slid half a cent or 1.2 per cent to 40.5 cents, after Standard & Poor's joined Moody's Investors Service in reviewing the firm's ratings amid concern about its liquidity.

This comes as companies in the industry continue to grapple with the prolonged weakness in commodity prices.