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Singapore shares close higher for 4th session on hopes US rates stay unchanged

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"BAD economic news is good news", at least as far as stocks are concerned. This has been the case for eight years and so it remains - a shockingly weak US jobs report; the worst since 2010 - last Friday has enabled stocks to push higher largely because the probability that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at next week's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting has dropped sharply. Two weeks ago it was 32 per cent as per the federal funds futures market, on Monday it stood at just 2 per cent.

With Wall Street closing at a seven-month high on Monday after US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen delivered a speech that was seen as neither hawkish or dovish, the Straits Times Index (STI) on Tuesday rose for the fourth consecutive day albeit in low volume when it added 16.81 points at 2,848.09 with 1.7 billion units worth S$945.4 million traded. The 30 STI components contributed S$650 million or 69 per cent; the broad market's advance-decline score was 262-129 excluding warrants.

All three banks rose, as did Keppel Corp and Genting Singapore. Among penny stocks, AddValue Tech's shares jumped S$0.014 or 43.8 per cent to S$0.046 on volume of 115 million after the company said that a significant disposal that was first announced in March 2014 may be completed within the next few months.

Shares of commodities firm Noble Group, which has been in the news because of resignations by some of its top management and a US$500 million rights issue, rebounded from a recent battering when they rose S$0.015 to S$0.25 on turnover of 105.4 million.