Singapore shares closed 0.22 percent higher on Wednesday, lifted by strong U.S. housing data and easing geopolitical tensions over Ukraine.
U.S. stocks drew support from robust housing data on Tuesday. The U.S. Commerce Department said housing starts and building permits surged 15.7 percent in July, snapping two straight months of declines.
Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart will meet next week for the first time in two months, in a gathering also involving senior European Union officials.
Investors will be looking to the U.S. Federal Reserve's minutes from the July 29 to 30 policy meeting later in the day. The minutes will be scanned closely for any clues on when policymakers plan to raise U.S. interest rates.
The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 7.22 points to close at 3,323.65 points. Trading volume was 1.68 billion shares worth 936 million Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 210 to 196, while 529 stocks closed unchanged.
Among top actives, Neptune Orient Lines Limited jumped 4.1 percent to 1.02 Singapore dollars. It said that it continues to evaluate all available options to improve the strategic positioning and performance of its businesses. These include considerations of a potential sale or initial public offering and listing of its logistics business as a separate, stand-alone unit from Neptune Orient Lines. These considerations are preliminary and exploratory in nature. There is no assurance that any definitive transaction will be concluded.
Biosensors International dropped 3.3 percent to 72.5 Singapore cents. It released a formal announcement confirming that it has been informed by CITIC PE that the latter will not proceed with any takeover transaction henceforth.
DBS Group Research said Biosensors faces declining earnings due to falling contribution of high-margin licensing revenue, average selling price erosion and keener competition.
Broadway Industrial Group gained 2.2 percent to 23 Singapore cents. It is proposing a renounceable non-underwritten rights issue of up to 55.5 million rights shares at an issue price of 18 Singapore cents each on the basis of two rights shares for every fifteen shares held. The net proceeds of approximately 2.47 million Singapore dollars will be used to repay debt, for general working capital purposes and capital expenditure.
Among the top gainers, UOB rose 0.7 percent to 22.87 Singapore dollars, whereas Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 1.2 percent to 60 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1. 25 Singapore dollars)