Singapore shares rise on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street gains

SINGAPORE – Local shares were given a push on Wednesday after overnight gains on Wall Street sparked by investors anticipating that the Federal Reserve would ease its rate-hike path.

It was not much to cheer about but the Straits Times Index managed to start the month on the right foot, adding 0.4 per cent or 11.98 points to 3,377 with gainers outnumbering losers 331 to 182 following trade of 1.3 billion shares worth $1.1 billion.

IG market analyst Yeap Jun Rong noted that the release of US economic data overnight supported market hopes that the Fed would ease the pace and size of rate hikes.

However, he noted that the upside could still be somewhat contained, as markets remain cautious ahead of the outcome of the Fed’s next meeting.

The top gainer on the STI was Keppel DC Reit, which added 3.4 per cent to $2.11. The real estate investment trust posted a 4.8 per cent year-on-year increase in distribution per unit (DPU) for the half-year ended Dec 31.

The index’s biggest loser was CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust (CICT), down 1.4 per cent to $2.11. It had earlier posted a DPU of 0.0536 cents for the second half of last year, up 2.7 per cent year on year.

The trio of local banks saw mixed trading: DBS rose 0.1 per cent to $35.81; OCBC gained 0.4 per cent to $12.98; but UOB lost 0.3 per cent to $29.73.

Regional indices largely ended higher after gains on Wall Street of between 1.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.1 per cent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1 per cent and the Kospi in Seoul climbed 1 per cent but the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Index bucked the trend, slipping 0.9 per cent.

Australian shares stole the limelight, closing at a nine-month high ahead of that expected change in US Fed policy. THE BUSINESS TIMES