Singapore shares closed 0.01 percent higher on Friday, as investors waited for the U.S. release of December employment and payroll data.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting released on Thursday showed some voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee were increasingly concerned about the potential risks of the asset purchases on financial markets, even if it looked set to continue an open-ended stimulus program for now.
The Federal Reserve's asset-buying policy has been pivotal in underpinning investor risk appetite and supporting global equities. The minutes of the last month policy meeting prompted investors to book profits from rallies immediately after U.S. lawmakers earlier this week narrowly avoided falling off the "fiscal cliff" of automatic taxes increases and spending cuts, which risked derailing the economy.
DBS Group Research said "Singapore (bourse) is expected to under-perform the region. Reduced risk from Euro-zone, ultra loose monetary policies and green shoots of recovery will tilt the balance towards risk and cyclical plays. However, Singapore's gross domestic product and earnings growth paled in comparison to regional counterparts, as it struggled with restructuring pains."
SIAS Research said "the Straits Times Index is likely to be muted, taking their cue from the decline seen in U.S. equities overnight," adding that "the immediate resistance is pegged at 3, 230 points with a price objective of 3,270 points while support is established at 3,200 points and 3,180 points."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.42 points to 3,225.22 points. Trading volume was 7.05 billion shares worth 1. 37 billion Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 335 to 178, while 447 stocks did not move.
Among top actives, CNMC Goldmine Holdings surged 41.9 percent to 44 Singapore cents. The company said it had produced 740.82 ounces of gold bars from a new facility in Malaysia and expects a boost in production volumes. It added the new facility started operation after the company received approval from the Malaysian authorities and is expected to contribute to a ramp-up in gold production and increase the group's revenue.
OSIM International Limited dropped 0.3 percent to 1.78 Singapore dollars. OCBC Investment Research raised the target price of massage chair maker to 2.14 Singapore dollars from 1.87 Singapore dollars and rated it "buy," saying "we believe that OSIM International would be a key beneficiary of a recovery in the economic conditions in China, which is its largest market."
Among top gainers, Jardine Matheson rose 0.3 percent to 63.50 U. S.dollars, while UOB became one of the top losers by falling 0.8 percent to 19.80 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.22 Singapore dollars)