A tonic from oil price and Wall St

A REBOUND in oil prices and positive cues from Wall Street sent Singapore shares higher, with the market index touching highs not seen since November last year.

The Straits Times Index rose 10.83 points or 0.37 per cent to close at 2,960.78. It was up as much as 0.5 per cent to 2,963.86 during the session.

Buoying the market were OCBC Bank, which gained 0.6 per cent or six cents to $9.45; Singtel, which rose 0.5 per cent or two cents to $3.97; and Genting Singapore, adding 2.3 per cent or two cents to 89 cents.

Despite the failed Doha talks on an output freeze, oil prices firmed on data from the US Energy Information Administration showing a smaller-than-expected inventory build-up, and speculation that another meeting has been set for next month.

"Commodity prices rallied across the board and kept sentiment towards risk assets supported," Citi Research said.

Energy-related counters got a boost, with Ezra Holdings gaining 1.98 per cent or 0.2 cent to 10.3 cents, with 49.2 million shares traded.

Rex International rose 1.9 per cent or 0.2 cent to 11 cents, with 32.6 million shares traded; Vard gained 2.2 per cent or 0.4 cent to 18.8 cents, with 17.7 million shares traded; and Ezion climbed 3.7 per cent or two cents to 56 cents.

News of the bankruptcy filing of oil-rig supplier Sete Bra- sil, which accounts for nearly half of Keppel Corp's as well as Sembcorp Marine's orders, did not dent buying interest.

Keppel rose 0.2 per cent or one cent to $6 while SembMarine gained 1.1 per cent or two cents to $1.87.

UOB KayHian, which downgraded its call on Keppel to hold, said the group's first-quarter net profit of $210 million came in below expectations due to lower-than-expected offshore and marine revenue and investment net profit.

Other hotly traded counters included Magnus Energy, which sank 25 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.3 cent, with 228.8 million shares traded.

Noble Group rose 3.4 per cent or 1.5 cents to 46 cents, with 57 million shares traded, while Spackman Group Entertainment dropped 2.1 per cent or 0.3 cent to 14.2 cents, with 55.6 million shares traded.


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