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Singapore shares close higher with blue chips dominating trading

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TRADING in blue chips has contributed almost three quarters of daily volume over the past fortnight and so it was again the case on Monday when the Straits Times Index's (STI) recent revival continued with a 33.61-point rise to 3,032.11.

Of the total turnover of 1.8 billion units worth S$1.4 billion done by the whole market, S$1 billion or 71 per cent came from the 30 STI components, the most active being the resurgent Noble Group. There were also notable volume contributions from Genting Singapore and Singtel.

The index probably owed its fifth rise in six sessions to a gains in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Dow futures contract however, was marginally weak.

Commodities firm Noble Group topped the actives list with a S$0.045 or 9.6 per cent jump to S$0.515 on volume of 186.2 million. Some observers said that the rally in Noble's shares which has come after months of pressure is due to hopes that the company will be refocusing its strategy in the face of weak commodity prices; others speculated that short covering could also be a factor.

Maybank Kim Eng issued an "underweight" on the land transport sector, including a "sell" on ComfortDelgro and SMRT. The broker said that it has identified four areas which the new transport minister Khaw Boon Wan will likely address: 1) completing the bus transition to a tender system; 2) executing rail transition; 3) improving the reliability of the rail network; and 4) addressing new taxi models.