Singapore shares closed 0.09 percent higher on Friday, after manufacturing surveys from China and the U.S. raised hopes that the global growth outlook is finally improving.
Confidence in the global economic outlook got its biggest boost from Thursday's HSBC flash manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for China, which showed expansion in the factory sector accelerating for the first time in 13 months.
U.S. manufacturing also grew in November at its quickest pace in five months, indicating strong economic growth in the fourth quarter. Purchasing Managers Index data on the manufacturing and services sectors in Europe's two biggest economies, Germany and France, added to the better tone, revealing that conditions had not worsened in November, though both economies were still contracting.
Maybank-Kim Eng Research said "everybody is waiting for how the U.S. intends to resolve the fiscal cliff. We will only know sometime toward the end of the year or even into next year," adding that Euro-zone issues are also still ongoing.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 2.65 points to 2,989.28 points. Trading volume was 3.02 billion shares worth 879.7 million Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 237 to 169, while 554 stocks did not move.
Fraser and Neave dropped 0.3 percent to 9.39 Singapore dollars. The Thai group TCC Assets extended the deadline for accepting its 8.88 Singapore dollars per share takeover bid for the Singapore conglomerate. Last week, a consortium led by Oversea Union Enterprise trumped the Thai bid, offering 9.08 Singapore dollars per share, fueling speculation of a bidding war.
Keppel Corporation inched up 0.7 percent to 10.62 Singapore dollars. While rating 'buy' on the world's largest rig-builder, UOB Kay Hian Research cut its target price to 12.30 Singapore dollars from 12.80 Singapore dollars, due to lower operating margin assumptions.
Keppel Land gained 0.6 percent to 3.41 Singapore dollars. The property developer established a 3 billion US dollars multicurrency medium-term note program. OCBC Investment Research said "we see this program adding significant incremental financial flexibility to its balance sheet, particularly as the group continues to look into allocating capital into accretive land acquisitions." The research house rated it 'Hold' with a fair value of 3.49 Singapore dollars.
Among top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage Matheson rose 1.3 percent to 48.79 Singapore dollars, while OCBC Bank became one of the top losers by falling 0.7 percent to 9.14 Singapore dollars. ( 1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.22 Singapore dollars)