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Singapore shares close higher on firm oil, overnight Wall Street rally

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 17:36

A RISE in oil prices and an overnight rally on Wall Street helped the Straits Times Index (STI) gain 43.78 points or 1.7 per cent at 2,657.57 on Thursday. Turnover was a robust 1.2 billion units worth S$1.3 billion and excluding warrants there were 278 rises versus 110 falls.

The index, however, closed off its intraday high after the Dow futures, which traded in the black for most the day, slipped into the red in late afternoon.

Of the dollar volume traded, S$954.3 million or 73 per cent was done in the 30 index components.

The most active STI member was Noble Group which jumped S$0.04 or almost 12 per cent to S$0.375 on volume of 136 million while other active index constituents were Golden Agri and Singtel.

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All three banks rose, though UOB appeared to lag the other two when it only managed a S$0.05 rise to S$17.25 on volume of 3.5 million.

Moody's Investors Service in a report on the banks' results said that there is rising pressure on asset quality, particularly for sizeable oil and gas exposures.

"The banks have seen a broad-based deterioration in asset quality through 2015, a trend we expect to continue because of slowing economic and trade growth in Asia, and increasing stress for oil and gas borrowers in Singapore," says Eugene Tarzimanov, a Moody's vice-president and senior credit officer.

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