Singapore shares closed 0.3 percent higher on Friday as investors shrugged off worries about weak corporate earnings and slowing global economic growth.
Investors also digested the Monetary Authority of Singapore's decision to keep its policy unchanged, putting its focus on inflation instead of growth, which surprised market as there were widespread expectations that it would loosen policy.
Phillip Securities Research said Singapore market "upside is limited in the near term and would advise a nimble trading stance in the short term."
"Over the next couple of weeks of corporate reporting season, forward earnings guidance as well as the economic outlook will prance to the forefront of investors' minds and dictate market direction," it said.
DBS Group Research also said the Straits Times Index has started to bounce around the 3,020 points level after falling nearly 90 points this week. The bounce should head to 3,050 points or even cross but not exceed 3,088 points. After the current bounce, the research house did not rule out another decline to 2, 950 points in coming weeks given the continued concerns about global growth slowdown and as the traditional November-December year-end lull period approaches.
The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 9.09 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 3,041.75. Trading volume was 1.44 billion shares worth 1.16 billion Singapore dollars (950.8 million U.S. dollars). Advancers outnumbered decliners 214 to 166, while 577 stocks finished unchanged.
Among the top actives, Wilmar International advanced 3.6 percent to close at 3.17 Singapore dollars. It said in a stock filing that its chief operating officer, Martua Sitorus, had bought 2 million shares of the company at 3.18 Singapore dollars.
DBS Group inched up 0.3 percent to 14.18 Singapore dollars. The Southeast Asia's largest lender sold a 10.4 percent stake in Bank of the Philippines Islands to Ayala Corporation for 757.3 million Singapore dollars in an effort to boost capital ahead of Basel III implementation. It will retain a 9.9 percent stake in Bank of the Philippines Islands.
Lian Beng Group ended flat at 39.5 Singapore cents. Maybank-Kim Eng Research maintained its "buy" rating, but lowered its target price on the construction and property firm to 54 Singapore cents from 63 Singapore cents, citing higher cash flow it needed, which may affect dividend timing.
Among top gainers, Jardine Matheson rose 2.7 percent to close at 61.18 U.S. dollars, while SembCorp Industries became one of the top losers by dropping 1.6 percent to close at 5.51 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.22 Singapore dollars)