Singapore shares closed 0.03 percent higher on Tuesday, as investors awaited confirmation the US Federal Reserve will stay the course with stimulus at its policy meeting this week.
Market participants expect no change to the Federal Reserve's 85 billion US dollars monthly asset purchase program at its two- day meeting ending on Wednesday. Most predict the central bank to delay any stimulus tapering until at least March.
U.S. manufacturing output barely rose in September and contracts to buy previously owned homes fell the most in nearly three-and-a-half years, showing economic activity was on a weak footing even before the 16-day partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.97 points to close at 3,208.82 points. Trading volume was 1.89 billion shares worth 870 million Singapore dollars (702 million U.S. dollars). Decliners outnumbered advancers 238 to 183, while 534 stocks finished unchanged.
King Wan Corporation ended flat at 29.5 Singapore cents. It has secured five new mechanical and electrical contracts in Singapore worth a total of 26 millions Singapore dollars during the period from August to October 2013. With these new contracts, the group's order book to date stands at 168.9 million Singapore dollars.
ST Engineering closed flat at 4.18 Singapore dollars. Its aerospace arm, ST Aerospace, and Jetstar Asia has signed a three- year line maintenance contract. The agreement covers a full suite of line maintenance support for Jetstar Asia's existing and future fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
BH Global Corporation dropped 1.5 percent to close at 12.9 Singapore cents. It expects to report a net loss for third quarter, mainly due to foreign exchange losses arising from the significant depreciation in value of Indonesian rupiah against Singapore dollar.
ARA Asset Management jumped 4.6 percent to close at 1.83 Singapore dollars. The real estate fund manager announced Straits Trading Company Limited is buying a 20.1 percent stake in the company.
Among top gainers, Great Eastern Holdings rose 1.2 percent to 17.70 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by dropping 2.1 percent to close at 54.5 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 1.24 Singapore dollars)