Singapore shares closed 0.02 percent higher on Thursday, buoyed by dovish comments from the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the rally in Wall Street overnight, but trading was thin ahead of Good Friday holiday.
Market gain was also limited by disappointing results from Google and IBM announced after U.S. market closed. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told the Economic Club of New York earlier that it might take two years to return to full employment, and there was more risk of inflation staying too low than going too high.
The benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.6 points to close at 3,253.80 points. Trading volume was 1.82 billion shares worth 1. 22 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers 235 to 202, while 505 stocks closed unchanged.
Voyage Research said the Straits Times Index is expected to test its next resistance of 3,270 points.
Ezion Holdings jumped 4.1 percent to 2.27 Singapore dollars. Malaysia billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan extended his oil and gas sector acquisition spree to Singapore through the subscription of a 7.7 percent stake or 100 million new shares at 1. 94 Singapore dollars per share via Hong Leong Company's indirect subsidiaries.
Keppel Corporation dropped 1.8 percent to 10.99 Singapore dollars. Its first-quarter core net profit of 339 million Singapore dollars was flat on-year, if exceptional items in the quarter are excluded. Group order book reached a new high of 14.4 billion Singapore dollars, providing revenue visibility up to 2019.
First Resources shed 1.2 percent to 2.48 Singapore dollars. Its first-quarter crude palm oil output grew 14 percent on-year to 131, 474 metric tons. Assuming first-quarter average sale price is 797 U.S. dollars per metric tons and the earnings would be around 49 million U.S. dollars and 52 million U.S. dollars for the quarter.
Among the top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 2.8 percent to 48.23 Singapore dollars, while Singapore Airlines became one of the top losers by falling 1.3 percent to 10.29 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.25 Singapore dollars)