THE Straits Times Index drifted within a narrow band before ending a net 0.48 of a point higher at 2,815.52 on Tuesday, ahead of the US Federal Reserve's Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting this week at which an interest rate hike is expected to be announced. Turnover was a thin 870.2 million units worth S$860 million and excluding warrants there were 184 rises versus 203 falls.
All over the region trading was similarly cautious as traders waited for confirmation that US rates are to be raised, as well as any guidance from the Fed on future rate hikes. However, helping provide some support was a 90-point rise in the Dow futures contract which suggested Wall Street might extend its Monday bounce on Tuesday.
Brokers here spoke of subdued interest not just because of the FOMC meeting but also due to the upcoming holiday season, sliding oil prices and concerns over emerging markets' growth because of China's slowdown.
Offshore oil and gas firm Ezra Holdings was the day's most actively traded stock, ending S$0.001 weaker at S$0.095 on volume of 30.7 million. The most active index component was commodities firm Noble Group, which managed a S$0.005 rise to S$0.39 on volume of 28.1 million.
Elsewhere within the sector, shares of offshore marine logistics firm Ezion ended S$0.015 firmer at S$0.57 on volume of 8.4 million. The company on Monday announced a strategic cooperation agreement with a Chinese state-owned enterprise to support offshore wind power installation projects in China.